The Himalayan yogi led India’s biggest NSE fellowship as a puppeteer, according to SEBI

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Bombay : The former head of India’s biggest stock exchange shared confidential information with a yogi and asked his opinion on crucial decisions, a market regulator investigation has revealed, ahead of the stock exchange’s long-awaited public listing.

In a case of ‘bizarre misconduct’ which amounted to a ‘flagrant breach’ of regulations, Chitra Ramkrishna, the former chief executive of the National Stock Exchange (NSE), shared information including financial projections, plans for business and the agenda of the board of directors with a supposed spiritual spirit. Himalayan guru, said the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

“The sharing of NSE’s financial and business plans…is a blatant, if not unimaginable, act that could shake the very foundations of the stock exchange,” SEBI said in an order, imposing sanctions on Ramkrishna, the stock exchange and others. other senior officials. former frameworks for disqualifications.

Ramkrishna, who left NSE in 2016 for “personal reasons”, was not immediately reachable for comment. NSE and SEBI did not respond to requests for comment.

Allegations of corporate governance lapses have plagued NSE for several years. The exchange had planned to go public in 2017, but its listing was derailed by allegations that officials provided some high-frequency traders with unfair access through colocation servers, which could speed up algorithmic trading.

After a three-year investigation, SEBI fined the exchange more than $90 million and banned it from raising funds in the stock markets for six months. NSE challenged the order in court and sought SEBI’s approval to file for a new IPO.

However, during this investigation, SEBI found documents showing Ramkrishna’s emails to an unknown person, who she said during questioning was a “spiritual force” from whom she had sought guidance for 20 years. .

Ramkrishna, in his defense, told SEBI that sharing information with the person of “spiritual nature” does not compromise confidentiality or integrity.

The SEBI order, however, said it was “absurd” for Ramkrishna to claim that sharing sensitive information such as dividend payout ratios, business plans and performance reviews of NSE employees was not causing no harm.

The SEBI investigation also revealed that the alleged guru had considerable influence in appointing a mid-level executive, with no capital market experience, directly as an adviser to Ramkrishna with inadequate documentation and a salary in excess of most senior NSE officials.

The guru was leading the exchange and Ramkrishna was “just a puppet in his hands”, SEBI said.

Questions emailed to an address listed in the SEBI order as belonging to the guru did not receive an immediate response.

SEBI also said that NSE and its board were aware of the exchange of confidential information but chose to “keep the matter secret”.

The regulator fined NSE 20 million rupees ($270,000) and banned the exchange from launching new products for six months.

SEBI fined Ramkrishna 30 million rupees and banned him from any SEBI-registered exchanges and intermediaries for three years.

Ramkrishna was part of a group of executives who in the early 1990s launched NSE as a challenger to the more established BSE Ltd, then known as the Bombay Stock Exchange. She was appointed co-CEO of NSE in 2009 and promoted to CEO in 2013.

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