NSE Co-location scam: Who is Anand Subramanian

PALAK SHAH | Updated on: Feb 25, 2022

Chitra favoured Subramanian and offered him ₹5 crore as salary despite his questionable knowledge of stock market 

Nearly four years after it registered an FIR in the NSE co-location (COLO) scam in 2018, the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) made the first arrest in the case.

Anand Subramanian, a low key former employee and foreman of a Chennai-based logistics firm Transafe Services Private Limited who was appointed as the Group Operating Officer (GOO) of the National Stock Exchange by its controversial MD and CEO Chitra Ramkrishna, was arrested from Chennai. CBI believes Subramanian could hold vital clues to the co-location scam at NSE since he was a close confidant of Ramkrishna with loyalty beyond official duty, the sources told BusinessLine. Subramanian was arrested after several days of questioning. The CBI probe centers around the faulty COLO trading systems of NSE and more high profile arrests may follow in the case, the sources said. After four years, the CBI recently stepped up its probe in the co-location case after several sensational details emerged with regard to Ramkrishna’s mismanagement of NSE.

Who is Subramanian?

Despite little knowledge of the stock markets, let alone regulations, Subramanian was first brought in as a strategic advisor to NSE MD and CEO in weeks after Ramkrishna took the reins of the exchange fully in her hands.

Subramanian’s appointment soon turned into a scandal as the NSE staff often discussed, in hushed tones, about Ramkrishna’s special liking for him. In little less than a year after joining NSE, Subramanian was made the GOO of one of the world’s largest exchanges and Ramkrishna also gave him a cabin next to hers at the exchange’s plush BKC headquarters in Mumbai.

Subramanian’s powers and responsibilities were equal to the MD and CEO of NSE and his other perks entitled him to first class international travels. Subramanian, who earned less than ₹14 lakh annually prior to NSE appointment, was given a generous pay package of nearly ₹5 crore by Ramkrishna, while the board of the exchange looked the other way. 

Is Subramanian the controversial Yogi?

Soon after his arrest, many observers speculated that Subramanian is the Yogi mentioned by Ramkrishna in her emails. However, investigators and experts who spoke to BusinessLine say that Subramanian lacked the knowledge of the inner workings of NSE and would certainly not be in a position to influence the board to let Ramkrishna have her way in running the exchange.

The emails of Ramkrishna unearthed by SEBI had revealed that the Yogi was guiding on complex subjects like portfolio allocation to senior NSE employees including core technology work. He even told Ramkrishna about the top IAS officers who have to be influenced in the Prime Minister’s Office, the Finance Ministry and SEBI. So far there is no precedent of globally any exchange listing on its own platform. But the Yogi was guiding Ramkrishna on self-listing of NSE and even restructuring of the board members and whom to choose for the same among the foreign shareholders of the bourse. This was hardly possible for Subramanian since he spent most of his life in a low profile job and the COLO scam involved billions of dollars worth flows and technical know-how of trading systems. The emails show that the Yogi used Subramanian as a link between him and Ramkrishna. Subramanian’s wife Sunitha earlier worked with NSE in their Chennai office and her father was an astrologer who had some political bigwigs, lawyers and bureaucrats as followers including Ramkrishna. The astrologer died in 2015. Sources say Subramanian was picked up by CBI from Seethammal colony, a posh residential area in Chennai.

Published on February 25, 2022

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