Amid Probe Into NSE-Himalayan Yogi Link, Government’s Inquiry: 10 Points

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Amid Probe Into NSE-Himalayan Yogi Link, Government's Inquiry: 10 Points

Chitra Ramkrishna was the MD and CEO of NSE between 2013 and 2016.

New Delhi:
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in an interview to Economic Times newspaper published on Tuesday, said that the government is examining whether market regulator SEBI has taken adequate action in the suspected corporate governance lapses at the country’s biggest bourse National Stock Exchange (NSE). The statement marks significance as this is the first official comment from the Centre in the NSE matter.

Here’s Your 10-Point Cheatsheet To This Big Story:

  1. The Finance minister told ET that the NSE episode is a classic example of “absolutely opaque, discretion-based decision making, beyond the realm of law and governance.”

  2. Further, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officials have questioned the former NSE CEO Chitra Ramkrishna and her then adviser Anand Subramanian as a part of an investigation, news agency Reuters reported quoting a source. The officials also visited SEBI’s office to collect documents related to the case, it added.

  3. The CBI is stepping up its investigation of a 2018 case involving allegations that the NSE provided some high-frequency traders unfair access to speed up algorithmic trading.

  4. The probe follows a February 11 order by SEBI that highlighted corporate governance lapses at the exchange. It said former NSE chief Ms Ramkrishna over the years shared confidential exchange data and sought advice from an outsider she described as a “Himalayan yogi”.

  5. The SEBI order said the former CEO “arbitrarily” appointed Subramanian as her adviser, adding that he had “no relevant experience”.

  6. The regulatory order said Ms Ramkrishna was “merely a puppet” of someone she described as an unnamed yogi in the Himalayas who “would manifest at will”. SEBI has said the former CEO made an “incorrect and misleading submission” about the existence of a yogi.

  7. Ms Ramkrishna was the managing director and CEO of the NSE between 2013 and 2016. She had quit citing “personal reasons”.

  8. On her part, Ms Ramkrishna told SEBI that she did not compromise the integrity of the exchange. NSE has said it is “committed to highest standards of governance and transparency”, calling the issue “almost 6-9 years old”.

  9. Ms Ramkrishna was among a group of executives who in the early 1990s started NSE as a challenger to the more established BSE Ltd, then known as Bombay Stock Exchange. She was appointed joint managing director of NSE in 2009 and promoted to CEO in 2013.

  10. The latest regulatory order is another major setback for the NSE that has struggled to roll out its IPO for years. The NSE, which started in 1994, says it is the world’s biggest derivatives exchange in terms of the total number of contracts traded.

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