Mumbai: Former advisor of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) Anand Subramanian was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday night following extended questioning over his involvement in a case where senior NSE officials allegedly manipulated stock market data.
Subramanian's role has been cemented by a recent SEBI report which also made damning comments about former NSE CEO Chitra Ramkrishnan who is also being investigated for financial irregularity.
The NSE scam case allegedly involves private individuals and unknown NSE and SEBI officials, who were accused of preferential access to the NSE's server architecture and misuse of colocation facility. 'High-frequency' traders were apparently given inside access to data which could speed up algorithmic trading.
Anand Subramanian was first appointed as Chief Strategic Adviser in National Stock Exchange (NSE) in 2013 and then promoted as Group Operating Officer of NSE in 2015 by MD Chitra Ramkrishna. In 2016, he left the National Stock Exchange after allegations of irregularities surfaced. Ramkrishna was MD and CEO of NSE from April 2013 to December 2016.
The SEBI report also revealed that Subramanian was allegedly posing as a "Himalayan yogi" who advised Ramkrishnan on her financial matters and to whom she leaked financial and business plans of NSE, dividend scenario and financial results, even down to personal appraisals of employees. Ramkrishnan had claimed that the yogi was a trusted advisor who had guided her for many years.
The "spiritual guru" who contacted Ramkrishna via email was also responsible for recommending Subramanian for the position of CSA. Ramkrishna was described as a "puppet" in the hands of the guru and he controlled most decisions made by her, the report alleges.
The SEBI report released earlier this month said that the "guru" in question took interest in the hairstyle of Chitra Ramkrishna's hairstyle, shared songs with her and also went on a vacation with her to Seychelles to 'chill'. The investigation revealed that Chitra met this unknown person several times in 2015.
It follows a judgement wherein, after a three-year investigation, SEBI fined the exchange over $90 million and barred it from raising money on securities markets for six months. NSE challenged the order in court and has sought SEBI's approval to file for a new IPO.
An income tax raid was conducted on Ramkrishna last week as officials tried to uncover evidence of tax evasion.
"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.
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has charged Chitra Ramkrishna and others with alleged governance lapses in the appointment of Subramanian as the chief strategic advisor and his re-designation as group operating officer and advisor to MD. SEBI has levied a fine of ₹ 3 crore on Ramkrishna, ₹ 2 crore each on NSE, Subramanian, former NSE MD and CEO Ravi Narain, and ₹ 6 lakh on V R Narasimhan, who was the chief regulatory officer and compliance officer.