The exchange as well as EY, the consultant which gave the forensic report, insist that Anand Subramanian and the mysterious yogi are the same person, but according to Sebi and statements by former NSE CEO Chitra Ramkrishna and her controversial hire Anand Subramanian, there was indeed a third person.
Who is the faceless ‘yogi’ in the bizarre story of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) and its flawed, vulnerable former CEO? The 190-page report by the capital market regulator Sebi only thickens the plot, arousing curiosity and leaving the social media speculating the possible identity of the mysterious ‘siddha purusha’. The exchange as well as EY, the consultant which gave the forensic report, insist that Anand Subramanian and the mysterious yogi are the same person, but according to Sebi and statements by former NSE CEO Chitra Ramkrishna and her controversial hire Anand Subramanian, there was indeed a third person.
However, another picture emerges after piecing together the conversations with NSE old-timers who knew Chitra well and had worked with her since the early days of the exchange. There was, it appears, a person in Chennai by the name Murugadimal Senthil Swamigal who Chitra looked up to as her guru and spiritual guide. And, interestingly, the Swamigal (the Tamil word for Swamiji), who passed away some years ago, was closely related to Anand, the other protagonist of the controversial story.
“I recall she used to visit Chennai to meet him, brought back prasada…While it is possible that this guru may have had a hand in some of the hires, but we can’t say with certainty whether he was the sender of those strange emails that the Sebi report talks about,” said a person.
According to the Sebi report, an ‘outsider’ regularly advised Chitra over emails, using the ID firstname.lastname@example.org, on a range of issues relating to roles of NSE senior officials, organisational structure, and possible lobbying strategies.
“But no one knows as yet whether the yogi himself was sending the emails or his password was compromised. We will not know as he is no more,” said another person. “If someone had actually got hold of the password, Chitra would have received the emails under the impression that she was being guided by her guru, though this can never justify her sharing information about the exchange with an ‘outsider’,” he said. “I am not aware of any other person Chitra considered her guru”.
EY, said the Sebi report, had pointed out that the Skype accounts in the name of “anand.subramanian9” and “sironmani.10” which were found on Anand’s NSE desktop were configured in the Skype application database and linked to the email ID ‘email@example.com’, and Mr. Subramanian’s mobile number; besides, the document properties in some emails sent from the ID ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ indicate the ‘document author’ (or the person last modifying some of the emails) as Anand Subramanian.
According to this version, where the yogi and Anand are the same person – on the basis of being the same ‘author’ of the emails – the sharing of confidential information was not an offense as the emails were sent to an ‘insider’ (i.e. Anand). In backing this interpretation, NSE told Sebi that it had consulted experts in human psychology who were of the opinion that Chitra was exploited by Anand who created another identity (Rigyajursama) to guide her perform her duties according to his wish.
However, the story takes a complex turn and baffles everyone with Chitra asserting that the third person was not Anand Subramanian. This is also the view that the regulator has taken as it could not conclusively prove otherwise. The exchange of emails assumes a serious nature, if the person interacting with Chitra was an ‘outsider’ though Chitra has maintained that consulting her guru and sharing of information have not impacted anyone.
However, for the regulator and the industry, the emergence of a mysterious holy man and his access to NSE’s information is more perplexing than the appointment of Anand at a highly inflated salary.
( Originally published on Feb 18, 2022 )
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