How a faceless yogi ghost-managed India's largest stock exchange

Chitra Ramkrishna, NSE's MD & CEO shared all sensitive information with an email id, allegedly run by a Himalayan yogi.

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Jitesh Surjiani | 16 Feb '22

After a back-bending yogi running a politically supported business empire, another yogi entrusted with running the largest state in India, yet another “yogi” now is found to have been ghost-managing the functioning of the largest stock exchange of India.

An investigation report by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) released last week has revealed that a certain “yogi” from the Himalayas took all the major strategic and operational decisions for the National Stock Exchange (NSE) for 20 years. While Chitra Ramkrishna, one of the founding members of NSE and a former MD & CEO, was the public face of the decisions, the one instructing her was a faceless email “” operated by a conman “yogi”.

The backstory

During investigations conducted by SEBI on wrongdoings at the NSE between 2013 and 2016, it was found that Chitra Ramkrishna was sharing all internal updates at the NSE with an outside email id.

Chitra Ramkrishna, MD and CEO, NSE

The updates shared on the email included NSE's business projections, financials, dividend ratio, business plans, and the board agenda. Ramkrishna admitted to communicating with the email id for 20 years which she believed was operated by a “yogi” from the Himalayan ranges. The yogi, via email, advised her on all important matters of strategy, policy, and performance appraisals of key management personnel at NSE. A key suggestion implemented by Ramkrishna, which came under greater scrutiny, was the appointment of Anand Subramanian at the NSE. The yogi further directed Ramkrishna to ensure three increments for Anand Subramanian within the first year of his appointment to about Rs 4 crore, elevation to the position of Group Operating Officer and advisor to the MD (Ramkrishna herself), with benefits such as international air travels in first class and a cabin immediately next to that of the MD.

Who is Anand Subramanian?

Subramanian was formerly working as a mid-level manager in Balmer and Lawrie, drawing a salary of Rs 15 lakh p.a. Despite having no experience with or exposure to capital markets, he was hired as a consultant with a salary package of Rs 1.68 crore p.a. for working 4 days a week.

As per the directions from yogi, Subramanian elevated him as the Chief Strategic Advisor with a salary package of Rs 4 crore p.a which was higher than the remuneration of the senior most employees at NSE. It is alleged that he was the sole candidate called for the interview and the interview was conducted only by Ramkrishna. HR was not given any access to his pre-employment documents. She even gave him an A+ in his performance appraisal (the highest grade), again as per the directions of the yogi. As per the SEBI report, Subramanian was allegedly an accomplice of the yogi and benefitted himself handsomely through guiding Ramkrishna. The report further said that Ramkrishna was totally dependent on Subramanian and did not do anything without his consultation.

Who is the yogi?

As per the SEBI report, the unknown person according to Ramkrishna was a “siddha-purusha" or "paramhansa", a spiritual force that could manifest itself anywhere it wanted and did not have any physical or locational coordinates. The email correspondence between Ramkrishna and the yogi proves that they have met several times and disprove Ramkrishna's statement given to Sebi, whereby she said the yogi did not have a physical persona. She referred to the yogi as 'Sironmani' while the yogi addressed her 'Chitsom'. Such was the affection that the “spiritual force” even influenced Ramkrishna’s personal attributes such as her hairstyle and went on a vacation with her to Seychelles, according to a Sebi order.

Did you hear that Makara Kundala song I sent? You must hear the resonance of that iterations. I am happy to see cheer on your face and absolutely from your heart. I did rejoice the time yesterday with you. These small things you did for yourself make you feel younger and energetic.Email from the yogi to Ramkrishna in September 2015.

Emails from February 2015 accessed by SEBI show that the yogi knew NSE staff members by name and understood NSE’s organisational structure in detail. “Lala to be brought up with the current portfolio and that of Kasam as Deputy Head-Regulatory under the same grade. Nisha to handle Kasam portfolio reporting to Lala. Kasam to be removed from the structure and kept in abeyance till leaving org. Mayur to be titled Chief-Trading Operations under the same grade. Umesh to be titled Chief-Information Technology. Huzan to be titled Chief-Group Products (Debts&....) Ravi Varanasi to be titled Chief BD-New Products & (SME/Education/ROCoordination),” read the emails.

In her statement given before SEBI in April 2018, Ramkrishna, who quit NSE in 2016, submitted to have met the yogi on occasions in holy places. Subramanian, too in his statements in September 2018, agreed to know the yogi for the past 22 years. NSE in its letter to SEBI in November 2018, submitted that Ramakrishna was manipulated by the same man in the form of different identities; one as Subramanian and the other as the yogi.

According to a forensic audit by E&Y, it was Anand Subramanian himself directing Ramakrishna via email. However, SEBI said that it found no conclusive evidence from the E&Y Report or the documents that prove Subramanian to be the person who used the email.

The missteps and the penalty

“There appears to be a glaring conspiracy of a money-making scheme that involves Ramkrishna and Subramanian with the unknown person, by which Ramkrishna would increase the compensation granted to Subramanian and Subramanian would then pay the unknown person from such increased compensation,” SEBI has said.

SEBI levied the following penalties on the parties involved:

  • NSE: Though the NSE was aware of Ramakrishna's correspondence with the yogi on email and resulting appointment of Subramanian, the NSE, and its board took "a conscious decision to not report the matter to SEBI and keep the matter under wraps,” the SEBI order said. For its oversight, NSE has been fined Rs 2 crore and forbidden from launching any new product for the next six months. It has also been asked to forfeit Ramkrishna's dues of Rs 4.4 crore towards leave encashment and deferred bonus, and deposit the same in the Investor Protection Fund Trust.
  • Chitra Ramkrishna: She has been fined Rs 3 crore for violating securities contract rules in the appointment of Subramanian. She has also been barred from associating with any market infrastructure institution or any SEBI-registered intermediary for three years.
  • Anand Subramanian: He has been fined Rs 2 crore and barred from associating with any market infrastructure institution or any SEBI-registered intermediary for three years.
  • Ravi Narain: The former MD and the predecessor of Ramkrishna has been fined Rs 2 crore for violating securities contract rules in the appointment of Subramanian and barred from associating with any market infrastructure institution or any SEBI-registered intermediary for two years
  • V R Narasimhan: NSE’s chief regulatory officer and compliance officer has been fined Rs 6 lakh.

The yogi remains untraceable as of date. The laptops belonging to Ramkrishna and Subramanian, used for the ubiquitous email exchanges, were disposed of as e-waste by NSE, thereby sealing any possibility of following the IP trail.

Questions that remain open

It appears that the perpetrators were let off too lightly and got away by paying a small fine. It also defies common practice that no formal investigation was launched to determine the impact these actions may have had on the retail investors associated with the NSE and the implications of sensitive details leaked to unknown entities. In the entire time, there is no visible presence or impact of Lokpal (the anti-corruption authority or ombudsman who represents the public interest in the Republic of India), which was formed with much hope and fanfare.

This case looks all set to join the annals of scams and potential frauds in India, to be resurrected time and again for case studies only and dutifully sent back to where they came from.


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Jitesh Surjiani

Jitesh Surjiani

Jitesh Surjiani is passionate about progressive change for India and its citizens. He writes about issues that are roadblocks in improving quality of life and interpersonal interactions as well as areas of public governance that fall short in intent and action.

How a faceless yogi ghost-managed India How a faceless yogi ghost-managed India's largest stock exchange
How a faceless yogi ghost-managed India's largest stock exchange
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