Cabal controlled NSE post 2014, through fake Yogi?

The SEBI, which was probing the NSE scam, had entrusted a Big-4 accounting firm Ernst & Young for forensic audit of the Chitra fraud.
Former NSE CEO Chitra Ramkrishna (Photo | PTI)
Former NSE CEO Chitra Ramkrishna (Photo | PTI)

The SEBI, which was probing the NSE scam, had entrusted a Big-4 accounting firm Ernst & Young for forensic audit of the Chitra fraud. The history of the Big-4, themselves involved in global frauds, is well documented. Yet, it is a perennial disease inflicting all wings of the government as they engage a Big-4 at high fees and beseech their views. E&Y, authorised by SEBI, had had access to the NSE server and emails the SEBI itself directly did not have. SEBI relied on the emails between the fake Yogi and Chitra extracted in the E&Y report. But fortunately, unlike most clients of the Big-4 do, SEBI did not buy the fake theory trotted out by E&Y, which would eventually bail out the scamsters. In E&Y’s theory, a

Chitra psychologically dominated by the fake Yogi could not have been guilty as, in law, she would have had no mens rea — guilty state of mind — in her acts. SEBI rightly rejected E&Y’s fake thesis, which was an attempt to whitewash the Chitra-NSE scam. But SEBI itself failed to deeply probe, as it ought to have, the contents of the emails and draw the most obvious inferences. Instead, it just used the emails to deny the claims of Chitra that the Yogi was not a physical personae. Result, the elephantine issue of cabal control of NSE through the Chitra-fake Yogi combine became merely a breach of rules of corporate governance, norms of remuneration and other piffles in its order. Read on for the most telling part of the fraud.

NSE cabal behind Yogi?
Fake Yogi ‘SP’s “chilling out” “swimming” “sea bath” emails to Chitra were just appetisers. His other emails clearly brought out the outsiders’ role and agenda in NSE. Fun aside, by a series of serious mails, the fake Yogi instructs Chitra what NSE should do, whom to appoint, where and at what remuneration. She does as he says. First, by email of Feb 6, ‘SP’ names Abhay Havaldar, LIC Representative, Sadagopan, Goldman Sachs representative, SBI Nominee, Justice Srikrishna as NSE Board committee members with some Saif Nominee, some NSE officials as permanent invitees. He tells her, “Think different and you will reach MY end goal.” ‘MY’ peculiarly in capitals cannot but have a hidden meaning, as must the ‘end goal’ — mysterious words. Next, even as the fake Yogi asks Chitra by mail on Feb 17 to come to Seychelles for fun, on the same day, Chitra mails for his approval of the Organogram of NSE! Forthwith he responds suggesting changes in it and making key appointments. See how he directs her to do, undo appointments — in his own words in the mail. “Bring up Lala with the current portfolio; Make Kasam Deputy head Regulatory in same grade; let Nisha handle Kasam portfolio and report to Lala; remove Kasam from structure, keep him abeyance till he leaves; designate Mayur Chief-Trading Operations in the same grade; Umesh as Chief-Information Technology; Huzan as Chief-Group Products (Debts); Ravi Varanasi as Chief BD-New Products & (SME/Education/RO Coordination).” And tells more, “remove Nagendra and separate, under promotion as Head-Equities reporting to her and remove Hari and separate, in the same grade as Head-IPO & OFS reporting to her and both should also be dotted to two others, RV/Subbu.” He lists who apart from her should be spokesperson of NSE. Every suggestion is pointed and each one is clearly a command.

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He directs her how to make Corporate announcements. “Promote Chandrasekhar Mukherji, Chief People’s Officer,” he orders. “Make Anand Subramanian, Group Operating Officer and Advisor,” he directs. Chitra complies, reports back. Proposing promotions, on Feb 24, 2015 she asks, “Swami. Seek Your Guidance.” The fake Yogi immediately responds saying “Some googly” using a cricketing metaphor, and even more pointedly tells her, “Continue Nagendra as AVP as Head Equities under independent charge. Once his competency is checked for one year…we can evaluate his promotion; Tojo to Kolkata and Achal to Delhi is required under promotion for strategy as Delhi government interface Achal will be a better person than others. Gaurav, wait for his response and then you will revert. Seema is a darling child, she requires polishing, everyone has a god father for his growth. For her it is ME for a commitment given yester-years, so she can be promoted and moved to SME as head and Management Representative for Business Excellence for the audit purpose reporting to RV and SS. Rachana may be moved back as Regulatory Head for WRO pending the same grade and will be promoted next year as guarantee. Anuradha may be moved to BE under Sanjay and also handle Board meetings of NSEIL and NSCCL alone as additional portfolio.”

Look at each decision the fake Yogi gives. Clearly he actively and meticulously runs the NSE through his emails to Chitra. The obvious and undeniable inference is that the fake Yogi is only an ex-insider to SEBI. And yet SEBI is asking Chitra inanely how did the fake Yogi get such an intricate understanding of the NSE, and she says she must have taught him! Strange.

The next question is, could the guy be acting alone? Obviously not. Even Chitra, regarded in the world of finance as proud, even arrogant, would not take instructions from him if he were acting alone. It must be a group — read cabal — decision conveyed in one guy’s name. Arguably, if not evidently, the old cabal of which Chitra, too, was an integral part must be behind the emails.

This obvious inference was precisely what E&Y sought to destroy by its fake theory that the fake Yogi was so dominating her mind that she was not in her own — to let go of all scamsters, including Chitra.

E&Y tries to bail out the cabal
A very significant element in the SEBI case is that, forced by the fake Yogi, Chitra had appointed Anand Subramanian (AS), a complete novice to NSE, as her adviser, on a fee of Rs 2 crore per annum from 1.4.2013 — the same day she became MD. His fee, already the highest paid in NSE to consultants, was upped in two years to Rs 4.2 crore. His income, before he joined NSE, was just Rs 15 lakh a year — 1/28th of what the NSE paid. In addition, his wife was given an annual fee of Rs 1 crore. AS enjoyed a position equal to Chitra’s, even attended board meetings. But E&Y, dished out a fake, even foolish, theory that AS was doubling as Chitra’s adviser on the one hand and the fake Yogi through email on the other, without — yes without — her knowing, and it was he (AS) who was controlling her psychologically. E&Y claimed to have secured a psychiatrist’s view to support its theory. The assumption that AS and the fake Yogi are one was made because AS was the choice of the fake Yogi. However, AS was appointed on 1.4.2013, but, according to SEBI, the fake Yogi’s emails started from 2014. AS’ appointment predated the fake Yogi emails. More, the fake Yogi’s emails testify to their video talks where he praises her looks, asks Chitra to swim, sea-bathe, and chill out with him in Seychelles, meet him in his office at Vasant Vihar on March 8, and their subsequent meeting as confirmed by her secretary. All of them completely disprove E&Y’s foolish theory that AS was the fake Yogi without Chitra being at all aware. Obviously the intent of E&Y’s fake theory was to limit the entire probe to AS and allow Chitra to escape. AS may hold the clue for who ‘SP’ is, but he cannot be ‘SP’ himself.

Cabal controlled NSE, post 2014?
And now the important leads that SEBI has sadly and badly missed. Both Chitra and NSE destroyed their computers that had the Yogi-Chitra mails, which could show the identity of the fake Yogi, who operated the mail id. Chitra says, ask the NSE where the computers are, and the NSE has no answer. Computers are gone, but why did SEBI not ask the NSE or E&Y, which had had access to the NSE server, what is the IP address of the fake Yogi’s id? This could unveil his identity even in the absence of computers. SEBI badly missed this basic lead. Why? Only SEBI can say. Second, the fake Yogi knows everything about NSE. Every one by name. He even identifies himself as ‘the god father for Seema’ ‘for a commitment given (by him) to her in yesteryears’. Clearly, even Seema must know the fake Yogi and he, her. Unless the fake Yogi was in NSE how could he have given commitment to NSE staffer Seema in his ‘yesteryears’? He can only be an ex-NSE insider. This is the second lead SEBI missed. Third, the fake Yogi undoubtedly resides abroad, comes to India, has an office at Vasant Vihar, Chitra fixes to meet him in Delhi on March 8. Shockingly, SEBI has not pursued this obvious lead about him.


The SEBI also missed the critical fourth lead which may point to the cabal that had captured the NSE and is continuing to run it. The lead comes from the dates when the mails between the fake Yogi and Chitra began and when they stopped. SEBI order (para 9.12) says that the email id operated from 2014 — note from 2014. Chitra became MD on April 1, 2013 — note 2013. If the fake Yogi was her spiritual guide for 20 years, would she not need his guidance right from April 1, 2013 when she became the NSE head? Surely, she must have needed his blessings and guidance most while beginning her innings. And yet till 2014 there seems to be no email guidance. While the end of the fake Yogi’s emails has nexus with Chitra’s sacking, its beginning has no nexus with her appointment. The beginning date of the emails between the fake Yogi and Chitra in 2014 indicates a different nexus. The nexus was the change of rule at the Centre in June 2014.

The cabal which had captured the NSE and was directing it for a decade, had lost its political power and backing in Delhi and a new government had come in. Here comes the crucial question: when the actual control of the cabal from Delhi was lost, was virtual control through fake Yogi’s emails put in place by the cabal? The fake Yogi’s emails ended when Chitra, a core member of it in the NSE, was sacked in 2016. This compelling nexus between the change of rule at the Centre and the beginning of the emails was missed by SEBI. The Chitra-NSE fraud of 2013-16 has the potential to unveil the cabal and open up COLO and other past scams of the NSE snakepit.

QED: Hardened offenders like the NSE cabal that had direct link with Delhi cannot be probed by civil law tribunals like SEBI. Coercive police powers, arrest, custodial interrogations as the law permits and even mandates to check crimes are needed to unravel their wrong-doings. The time has come to target and smash the cabal which not only managed to escape the COLO probe by SEBI, but seems to have entrenched itself in control of NSE even after June 2014.

S Gurumurthy
Editor, Thuglak, and commentator on economic and political affairs

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