Sunday, December 3, 2023

NSE scam case: The curious case of Chitra Ramkrishna

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Chitra Ramkrishna, the former Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Stock Exchange (NSE), is accused of abusing her position by making inappropriate appointments, failing to conceal confidential information about the exchange’s operations, and making false and misleading submissions to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). Her mysterious spiritual ‘Yogi’ affected her decision-making, according to the regulator. The former CEO, her predecessor Ravi Narain, and former Group Operating Officer (GOO) Anand Subramanian have all been questioned by the CBI, and lookout circulars have been issued against them.

Reportedly, in 2013, Chitra Ramkrishna was inspired by a yogi in the Himalayas to hire Anand Subramanian, a relatively unknown figure in the sector, as the exchange’s chief operating officer (COO). The NSE paid 5 crores for the appointment. Ramkrishna addressed the unnamed yogi as “Sironmani” and exchanged information with him including NSE’s five-year predictions, financial statistics, dividend ratio, business goals, board meeting agenda, and even staff performance reviews.

In 2016, Ramkrishna was fired from the NSE for her participation in the co-location and algo trading scams, as well as for abusing her position in the recruitment of Subramanian. Ramkrishna managed NSE with impunity, according to the investigation. No one in the company’s upper management, board of directors, or promoters — which include large government agencies and banks — ever complained about her activities. Instead, when Ramkrishna left NSE, she was awarded Rs 44 crore in overdue dues and salaries.

Meanwhile, Ms. Ramkrishna faces a three-year ban from trading in stocks, depositories, intermediaries, or clearing companies, as well as a fine of Rs. 3 crore. For the next three years, Mr. Subramanian is prohibited from engaging with any market infrastructure institution or intermediary. He’d also have to pay a fine of Rs. 2 crore.

SEBI said it was disappointing that the CEO of India’s largest and most powerful stock exchange had to stoop to such desperate measures to excuse her conduct in exchanging secret NSE information with an unknown person.

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