The Curious Case Of A ‘Spiritual Guru’ Who Ran India’s Top Stock Exchange By Proxy

Chitra Ramkrishna, former CEO and MD of NSE (file image)

This sounds like the plot of a fantasy novel. But it isn’t. India’s largest stock exchange, with a combined market capitalisation of nearly $4 trillion, was virtually run for years by a conman, who the CEO believed was her ‘spiritual guru’.

Chitra Ramkrishna, the former CEO and MD of NSE, was guided by a ‘spiritual force’ in the appointment of Anand Subramanian, as the exchange’s chief operating officer (COO) in 2013. The revelations are part of SEBI’s final order after a probe against Ramkrishna, NSE, and four others.

NewsMobile accessed the order which was released on Friday and is available on the market regulator’s website. The SEBI order notes that Ramkrishna shared ‘intricate details’ of the functioning and hierarchy of NSE with her ‘spiritual guru’. She even consulted him on employee appraisals as she had taken his guidance on personal and professional matters for 20 years.

” ..it is clear from the statements of Noticee no. 1(Ramkrishna) itself that she has provided intricate details that are confidential information of NSE to the unknown person who the Noticee no. 1 fails to identify stating that he is apparently a spiritual force that has no physical co-ordinates.”

Ramkrishna was removed from NSE in 2016. In the order, SEBI noted that Anand Subramanian was appointed without following due procedure and he was given unequal pay of more than Rs. 4 crore per annum higher than most of the seniors at NSE.

“Noticee no.6 (Anand Subramanian) was also an accomplice with the unknown person who influenced the decision of Noticee no.1 (Chitra Ramkrishna) and thereby benefitting himself by being re-designated as ‘group operating officer and advisor to MD and having the compensation being paid to him increase substantially each year, upon the advice of the unknown person to Noticee no. 1,” SEBI said in the order.

SEBI’s probe revealed that Ramkrishna communicated with the spiritual guru over email. She had never met him. “Their spiritual powers do not require them to have any such physical coordinates and would manifest at will,” Ramkrishna told SEBI.

The market regulator’s probe found that the NSE and its top officials violated securities contract rules related to the appointment of Anand Subramanian as group operating officer and adviser to the managing director.

SEBI has levied a fine of Rs 3 crore on Chitra Ramkrishna, Rs 2 crore each on the NSE and Mr Subramanian. They have been directed to pay their respective penalties within a period of 45 days.

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