Former chairman of National Stock Exchange Ashok Chawla told Moneycontrol his letter to Sebi in 2018 saying Anand Subramanian is the 'mysterious yogi' in the NSE scam was based on a forensic audit by consulting firm EY and that he has not been approached by any agencies as part of the ongoing investigations into the case.
“I have no information on any agency approaching me (for questioning). My letter was based on EY forensic audit,” Chawla told Moneycontrol by phone.
However, according to sources in Central Bureau of Investigation, Chawla is likely to be called soon by the agency for questioning in the NSE case.
The case involves former NSE CEO Chitra Ramkrishna’s links with a ‘Himalayan yogi’ and their possible ramifications on NSE’s operations. Moneycontrol couldn't immediately reach out to Central Bureau of Investigation for a comment.
Chawla served as NSE chairman between May 2016 and January 2019 and handled the NSE crisis relating to alleged manipulation in the trading system after Chitra Ramkrishna quit in late December citing "personal reasons". Chawla then shot a letter to Sebi in 2018 where he said Subramanian, a low key former employee and foreman of a Chennai-based logistics firm who was appointed as Group Operating Officer of NSE by Ramkrishna, is the 'mysterious yogi'.
During investigations, Ramkrishna had admitted that she used to take spiritual guidance from the yogi but maintained that all NSE operational decisions were her own. Investigations are on to verify the actual facts of this case particularly to find out whether NSE's financial details and business plan were shared for misuse.
To be sure, the alleged misappropriation involving Ramkrishna and Subramanian happened between 2013 and 2016 before Chawla took over as NSE chairman.
In January 2019, Chawla resigned as NSE chairman after the Centre granted sanction to prosecute five people including Chawla accused in the Aircel-Maxis case. Chawla was named in a charge sheet filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation on July 19 in the Aircel-Maxis case.
NSE colocation case
The NSE case refers to a series of events where certain private individuals and unknown NSE and SEBI officials were accused of preferential access to the NSE's server architecture and misuse of colocation facility.
The CBI on February 25 arrested Subramanian in connection with alleged favours to certain traders. The development came as authorities pressed ahead with an investigation into the case.
A whistleblower had written to SEBI in January 2015, explaining the flaws in NSE’s colocation system, and how some brokers had exploited those flaws in collusion with some employees of the NSE.
Subramanian was the chief strategic advisor from 1 April 2013 before he was re-designated from 1 April 2015 until 21 October 2016.
Look-out circulars were issued against Subramanian, Ramkrishna and Ravi Narain as part of the investigation. The Central Bureau of Investigation began questioning Ramkrishna in February.
Ramkrishna was accused of sharing information including the bourse's financial projections, business plans and board agenda with a purported spiritual guru in the Himalayas, Sebi said.
"The sharing of financial and business plans of NSE... is a glaring, if not unimaginable, act that could shake the very foundations of the stock exchange," Sebi said in an order, imposing penalties on Ramkrishna, the bourse and other top former executives for the lapses.Sebi said that NSE flouted the principles underlying the conduct of business of a stock exchange, pertaining to fair and equitable access to information. The NSE has failed to comply with the provisions of SECC Regulations in letter and spirit and Ramkrishna and Narain are vicariously liable for the acts of omissions/ commissions committed by the exchange during the investigation period, Sebi said in the order.