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I am looking into facts of the NSE case: Sitharaman

Mumbai, Feb 22 (UNI): Amid periodic revelations in the NSE corporate governance case involving former CEO Chitra Ramkrishna and her associates, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said she would comment on the issue only after going into the bottom of the matter.

Replying to a query on whether penalty imposed on the accused by market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) was adequate, the minister said she did not have a view at the moment as she is yet to look into the related materials before her.

“I have no comment to make on whether there was an adequate correctional step in the sense penalising or anything taken against those who were held responsible for it… and I have no view this way or that way till I really get to the bottom of what is available before me. I am looking into it but I won’t be able to comment on it at the moment,” said Sitharaman.

“Although you would perceive that these are well-established and the forensic audit may also have said all this I am still going through it. So, I don’t want to give a pre-emptive reply. So, I will definitely call for a meeting… press conference where I will definitely give out all that questions you may have on that matter. But at this stage it would be unfair. I am definitely going through it. These very questions are also in my mind. I will come back to you,” she said in response to query referring to findings of forensic audit and investigation by SEBI in the case.

Ramkrishna is accused of giving preferential access (using co-location facility) to NSE’s trading platform to certain brokers while she was at the helm of the stock exchange. It has been alleged that she misused her position and made misleading submissions to SEBI.

The episode first came into light in January 2015 following a whistleblower’s mail. In a SEBI report it has been said that Ramkrishna’s decisions were influenced by an unidentified ‘spiritual guru’ of the Himalayas.

Acting in the case, the regulator barred Ramkrishna from dealing in stocks, depositories, intermediary or clearing corporations for a period of three years besides a penalty of Rs 3 crore. Among other accused indicted by SEBI, the then Group Operating Officer (GOO) Anand Subramanian has been restrained from associating with any market infrastructure institution or an intermediary for three years.

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