The Curious Case of Ex-NSE Chief, Chitra Ramkrishna and Himalayan Yogi

The Curious Case of Ex-NSE Chief, Chitra Ramkrishna and Himalayan Yogi

NSE or the National Stock Exchange is one of the most famous institutions in India. As the name suggests, it is the National Stock Exchange of India, which is one of the apex institutes for investors in the Indian land. It is prestigious and holds upright the fundamentals and morals of the investors. The existence of the NSE can be attributed to some people and Chitra Ramkrishna was one of such names that come together with the stock exchange. Ramkrishna was selected to create NSE from scratch and has served as the CEO of NSE between 2013-2016. However, it is the co-location scam case of the NSE that she has now taken the centre stage of.

There are some people who are always present in every institution who try to manipulate the power and authority given to them in ways that are unethical or corrupted. They can be found in private, as well as public bodies. They can be found in banks, formal institutions, government propagated social institutions, These manipulators are present in almost every organisation you can think of.

There will always be people like these who try to manipulate the general public with the use of their authority or power. No institution is left without these people, even the NSE. There is a curious case of the National Stock Exchange with a person who used her power to do some fishy things. The case came out in the news and got a really big headline. However, most people still don’t remember the case in its entirety.

Here, in this article, we will see who was the fraudster behind the National Stock Exchange and what were the allegations that were posed to her. There are many twists and turns in its story that can even make a good story plot. Let us see how the case started and then slowly unfolded before the eyes of the law. Let's unfold the complete Chitra Ramkrishna and NSE co-location case.

A Brief about Chitra Ramkrishna NSE Co-location Case
Who is Chitra Ramkrishna?
What are the Allegations Against Ex-NSE Chief Ramkrishna?
CBI Investigations in the NSE Case
The Penalties and Orders by SEBI
The Mysterious 'Himalayan Yogi'

A Brief about Chitra Ramkrishna NSE Co-location Case

Before we go deep into the series of events that led to the eventual reveal of the big case, let us see the case at a glance. Here we will be discussing, what according to the news, the story was and how the case unfolded before everyone and how people are reacting to it. Let us see what was the issue that caused the fire to ignite. So this here is the co-location case in brief.

The National Stock Exchange, which is one of the oldest stock exchanges in the world, took a toll on its MD and CEO. Chitra Ramkrishna, who is the Ex-Managing Director and the Former Chief Executive Officer of the National Stock Exchange was accused of misusing her power.

It was alleged that she used her power and authority in the NSE to make some inapt appointments, which eventually lead to disruption of secrecy of the exchange. It was also said that there was an information leakage, which was to be concealed but she failed in doing so.

Another claim was that she was the one who made some incorrect and misleading submissions to the SEBI. The Securities Exchange Board of India was also seen stating that Chitra’s spiritual guru influenced her in doing the actions she was accused of. The 'Himalayan Yogi' mentioned was unnamed and unknown to the news and the media. All these were the claims that clouded the sky for Chitra Ramkrishna in the past.

The consequences of these actions were quite easy to see. The CBI or the Central Bureau of Investigation was the body that questioned her after the acquisitions and found out various fishy arrangements.

The CBI, during its enquiry, also issued some circulars against the Ex-Chief executive officer, Ravi Narain, who was her predecessor. It was also reported that the Central Bureau of Investigation also ordered circulars against the former GOO (Group Operating Officer), Anand Subramanian.

Who is Chitra Ramkrishna?

Chitra Ramkrishna is not a familiar name but in the world of finance, she is really well-known as a person. She is the former Managing Director and the Ex-Chief Executive Officer of the National Stock Exchange. She started her career as a Chartered Accountant. As she started and sailed through her career, she brushed some finance in her life.

Chitra Ramkrishna
Chitra Ramkrishna

In 1985, she IDBI (Industrial Development Bank of India). As her career and life moved forward, she got a short and brief notice period at the SEBI. After that brief work at the Securities Exchange Board of India, she returned to IDBI after two years. This was the time near the beginning of the NSE. She was eventually picked by SS Nadkarni, who was the then IDBI chairman, to establish the National Stock Exchange from zero.

What are the Allegations Against Ex-NSE Chief Ramkrishna?

By now you must have got an idea about the person who is at the centre of this case. Now is the time to understand the case and the allegations it posed towards Chitra Ramkrishna.

Starting from the beginning, Chitra Ramkrishna was appointed as the Managing Director and the chief executive officer on the first of April, 2013. She was worthy of the title and the post and designation that she received.

After her joining as the MD and CEO of the National Stock Exchange, she thought of appointing a person as the CSO (Chief Strategic Officer) for the exchange. Mr Subramanian was the person who was chosen for the post and this decision shocked everyone.

The reason why the decision shocked everyone was that the person, or the newly selected CSO, Mr Subramanian had no clue what stock and the capital market was. He had no prior exposure to the world of capital markets. He was Vice President of a leasing and repair service at an enterprise called Transafe Services private limited, before joining as the CSO for the exchange.

The Securities Exchange Board of India mentioned in a document that the person chosen for the job role had no prior exposure to capital markets. The selection of this candidate is subject to raising all the eyebrows in the room. The consultancy position for which Mr Subramanian was selected did not suit his prior life.

More than this, Subramanian’s salary at his last workplace was Rupees 15 Lakhs, which was now raised to a whooping 1.68 Crore rupees. This jump in the salary of Mr Subramanian from the last workplace to the National Stock Exchange was unjustified and abnormal.

Not only this, he was asked to work four days a week with all the benefits multiplied on his behalf. After all the appraisals and all the multiplied performance ratings, his compensation rose to 4.21 crore rupees just within two years. After all the eyebrow-raising and the magical promotions, he was redesigned to work as the GOO (Group Operating Officer) and Adviser to the Managing Director.

All of this and in the research and investigation, it was found that the exchange had no vacancy for the appointment of a CSO. Yes, The exchange never needed a Chief Strategic Officer, it was never advertised.

Chitra Ramkrishna not only appointed a person as a CSO but she also compensated him with exaggerated numbers and metrics. Remember, this is happening at the National Stock Exchange. This is a huge blow to the regulations and regulators.

Another claim or allegation that Chitra faced was this. The SEBI found out that the former chief (Before Chitra) was also guilty of spreading secret information for the exchange out in the open.

The information which is being regarded as confidential includes, some financial documents, organisations working model, dividend payout ratio and the board meeting consultations. All of this information was leaked in some sense or the other, by the ex NSE Chief who was said to have been following orders of her spiritual guru who remains unknown at the moment.

Chitra Ramkrishna and the board of directors were found guilty of not informing the regulator about the doings and leaking in the organisation. The regulator, in reply, asked both Subramanian and Ramkrishna to surrender their designations. Subramanian left the office officially in October 2016, followed by the surrender of Chitra Ramkrishna in December 2016.

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CBI Investigations in the NSE Case

The former chief of the National Stock Exchange has been examined for the case that was resisted in May 2018. The central bureau of investigation took the matter into its hands and are enforcing whatever it can.

According to the investigations of the CBI, it was found out that, the former member of the board had got access to the back servers of the exchange. This point of contact with the servers led to the control and manipulation of confidential and important data on the servers. This led to something similar to ‘Insider trading’ in the stock market.

When information travels asymmetrically, or faster to some people, they can use it to earn some abnormal gains. The brokers held unfair access between December 2012 to May 2014.

“Stock exchanges as institutional mechanisms have an important role to play in ensuring the stability of the financial and economic system,” the Bombay HC order had said.

In that light, Ramkrishna as the then-NSE chief is accused of financial misleading, concealing of information, and improper conduct. She was arrested in the co-location scam case on 6 March 2022, Sunday evening.

The Penalties and Orders by SEBI

Watching all the fraud play unfold, SEBI or the Securities Exchange Board of India made some orders and punishments to the offenders. According to the orders of the Securities Exchange Board of India, Chitra Ramkrishna has been denied to deal in stocks.

She will never trade in any of the securities, intermediate or with any clearing corporation for a period of three years. She is also ordered to pay a penalty of 3 Crore Rupees for the damage that has happened due to the bad governance.

For the denied time of 3 years, Mr Subramanian was also ordered to restrain himself from associating with any sort of market infrastructure institution. He has to stay away from the world of the market for the specified time and he has been ordered to pay a fine/penalty of 2 crore rupees.

On the market organisation of the NSE, it was ordered that the National Stock Exchange will not launch a new product or service for the next six months. Moreover, the NSE has been directed to leave/forfeit the excess leave encashment (cash in lieu of leaves) in 1.5 crore rupees and the deferred bonus of 2.8 crore rupees that the exchange owed to Ramkrishna. The forfeited amount that the NSE ordered to leave was to be utilised in its investor protection fund trust.

Other than these two people who were the centre of the storm of the fraud? there were more. The other three people who were also involved in the events were also penalised. They include Mr Narain who was the then president, A Company Secretary named J. Ravichandran, and the former regulatory officer J Ravichandran of violating some sections.

Those violated sections included the 15HB of the Securities Exchange Board of India Act 1992. Section of 23A and 23H of the securities contract Act 1956. In this case, not just president Narain was penalised but also the whole exchange was penalised. Both Narain and the National Stock Exchange were penalised with a penalty of 1 crore rupees.

The Mysterious 'Himalayan Yogi'

This is probably the most amusing character in the case. He is a yogi who was said to be the person who was influencing the minds of the accused people. Both the people, Ramkrishna and Mr Subramanian, were at the centre of the case of misleading and making some confidential information open to the public.

Both of these parties, even after the trials and all the investigations, believe that the yogi is real and legitimate. They were seen mentioning that the spiritual guru they were talking about was a ‘Siddha purush’ or a ‘paramhansa’, which means a truly accomplished (Enlightened) being.

According to the former NSE chief, the spiritual guru has no physical coordinates and it is impossible to trace him. He is a guru that can only be found after you manifest at your own will. She also said that she met him twenty years ago on the banks of river Ganga. The yogi then gave her an email address for contacting him in the future.

All these claims were baseless and proved to be guilty of both the parties at the National Stock Exchange. SEBI, however, denied believing that the spiritual guru was fake, in fact, it said that it was a real person and the erstwhile Exchange chief went on several vacations with the guru. This proves the fact that the yogi is a real and legitimate individual.

It is the entity that makes the whole story a crooked one. Especially in a country like India, where gurus and pundits are celebrated and worshipped like demigods, this case does not stand differently. If this yogi analogy is a lie in the case, then it is very cunning on the sides of both Ramkrishna and Subramanian.

Confrontation with the Yogi

The Ex-NSE chief Chitra Ramkrishna was accused of several major lapses at NSE, which is the largest of the stock exchanges in India, and accused of making monumental decisions on behalf of the organisation under the influence of a Himalayan Yogi. She was later arrested for the charges pressed against her on March 6, 2022, and was eventually sent to a seven-day CBI custody on March 7, 2022.

As far as the reports go from the CBI sources, the Himalayan Yogi has been identified to be the former Group Operating Officer (GOO) of NSE, Anand Subramanian, who has been recorded with evidence of over 2,500 email exchanges with Chitra.

In order to reveal some more details regarding the case, the investigating agency requested the court for some questioning and confrontation with Chitra. This led to the questioning of Chitra Ramkrishna with her former aide, Anand Subramanian by her side, however, this shockingly didn't dig up more mud, instead, Chitra refused to recognise him.

As per the reports, the controversial appointment of Anand Subramanian as the Chief Strategic Adviser and his later elevation to the Group Operating Officer and Adviser to the MD were all prompted by the mysterious guru.

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This was the NSE co-location case that involved Ex-CEO and MD Chitra Ramkrishna. It was curious to see that people at such a high latitude of responsibility and authority fall prey to some gurus. And who knows if the guru is a legit person or a mere proportion of fake images, or mirages created by the fraud minds.

Chitra Ramkrishna and Mr Subramanian were found guilty of deep corporate governance frauds, which led to their denial from the exchange and the market for three and two years respectively.

They were also ordered to pay a hefty penalty of crores. This case, which can also be a script for a movie, was a very interesting case. This shows how people at the top of some institutions can really be cunning, as opposed to their stature and the magnitude of responsibility that they have to bear.


Who is Chitra Ramkrishna?

Chitra Ramkrishna is the Former CEO and Managing Director of the National Stock Exchange (NSE), who is currently identified as the center of the co-location case scam of NSE.

What has Chitra Ramkrishna done in the co-location scam case?

The former CEO and MD of NSE, Chitra Ramkrishna has been charged with some major governance lapses at the NSE by SEBI. She has been accused of taking some major decisions under the influence of a Himalayan Yogi.

Who is the Himalayan Yogi?

The CBI sources have identified this Himalayan yogi to be none other than Ramkrishna's former aide and Former Group Operating Officer at NSE, Anand Subramanian. According to reports, the decisions of Ramkrishna were influenced by the Yogi.

Who is Anand Subramanian?

Anand Subramanian is the Ex-Group Operating Officer of NSE and the Former Chief Strategic Adviser and an Adviser to the MD of NSE. He is the one who is currently discovered to be the Yogi in the co-location scam.

What is co-location?

Co-location is a term that designates dedicated spaces in the exchange building, which are positioned next to the exchange servers. Co-location spaces witness high-frequency and algo traders who can place their systems or programs.

In co-location facilities, a third party can lease a rack/server space along with other computer hardware. These facilities extend a wide range of infrastructures like power supply, bandwidth, and cooling, which greatly helps in setting up servers and storage of data.

What is the co-location scam of the NSE?

The NSE Co-location scam is the recent market manipulation at the National Stock Exchange, which involves several top officials of the NSE including Chitra Ramkrishna and Anand Subramanian.

Who is the first woman MD and CEO of the National Stock Exchange?

Chitra Ramkrishna was the first woman MD and CEO of the National Stock Exchange.

Why was Chitra Ramkrishna arrested?

Chitra Ramkrishna was arrested by CBI on 6 March 2022 in the NSE co-location scam.

What is the current update regarding the co-location scam of NSE?

The former NSE Chief Chitra Ramkrishna has been arrested on March 6, 2022, and has been sent to a seven-day CBI custody on March 7, 2022.

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