Shankar Aggarwal, a key board member of the Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX), has recused himself from attending any meetings of the company’s board and committees. Sources told BusinessLine that Aggarwal was under pressure to resign from MCX or recuse on the reasoning that SEBI had passed an interim order against Dish TV, and made adverse remarks and directions against the independent directors of the company. Aggarwal, a former bureaucrat and 1980 batch UP cadre IAS officer, is one of the independent directors of Dish TV.

In a public notice, MCX said that Aggarwal had recused himself till SEBI passed a final order in the matter. But Dish TV independent directors, including Aggarwal, have questioned SEBI’s order and said that it was against the principles of natural justice since they were not given a hearing before the order was passed.

What the independent directors say

They also said that they were not at any fault since the matter on which SEBI passed the order was never brought to their notice either by the regulator or the company. They further told SEBI its ex-parte order had gone against the spirit of the regulator’s own circular issued on January 22, 2020, which said that a 10 days’ notice should be given by the regulator before freezing the demat accounts of any company promoters. In this case, SEBI froze the demat accounts of Dish TV independent directors without even giving them any hearing or a notice of even a single day.

SEBI had passed the strictures against Dish TV for its failure to disclose the voting results of an annual general meeting (AGM) held on December 30, 2021. SEBI order says that the company issued two advisories to reveal the results. On its part, Dish TV first made the results of the meeting public after the SEBI order and cited an application in the Bombay High Court for holding it back earlier.

Next MCX Chairman

At MCX, Aggarwal would have been in consideration for the post of chairman due to his seniority and past experience. Aggarwal was also the head of MCX audit committee. Current MCX chairman Saurabh Chandra, the 1978 batch IAS officer who was senior to Aggarwal, would be retiring from the exchange shortly as his term ends. Aggarwal would remain out of the race for the MCX chairman post if the selection procedure starts before SEBI’s final order in the Dish TV matter is out. Also, SEBI approval is a must for chairman’s appointment on MCX. Sources say that another MCX board member Pravin Tripathi could be the next in line for the post of MCX chairman, if Aggarwal is left out.

An email query sent to MCX remained unanswered.