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NSEL issue: Lokpal seeks vigilance panel report within a fortnight

PALAK SHAH Mumbai | Updated on July 17, 2019 Published on July 17, 2019

In what can be a test case for the anti-corruption body, the Lokpal has sought a status report from the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) which is investigating complaints against Ramesh Abhishek, former head of then commodity market regulator Forward Markets Commission. An eight-member Lokpal bench headed by former judge of the Supreme Court Pinaki Chandra Ghosh sought the CVC report on Abhishek in a fortnight.

The order, passed earlier this month, seen by BusinessLine, states, “It appears allegations have been made against public servant. Similar application is addressed to the Secretary, office of CVC of India. We request the Secretary, CVC of India, to send a status report in respect of the complaint so lodged by the complainant within the fortnight on receipt of this order.”

Lokpal is a body established under the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013 to inquire into complaints of corruption against public servants and related parties. A 1982 batch IAS officer, Abhishek, is currently a Secretary in the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) against whom complaints have been made to the CVC by Mumbai-based 63 Moons Technologies.

Missing ‘minutes’

The company has alleged that when Abhishek was FMC chairman he misplaced the minutes of a meeting that he held on August 4, 2013, with borrowers of the now defunct exchange NSEL. It was in this meeting that the borrowers had agreed to Abhishek that they were liable to pay ₹5,600 crore to traders on the NSEL. The FMC has told the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), which was investigating the NSEL scam, that ‘minutes of the meeting’ with the borrowers were misplaced.

After an order from the apex court this year to stay the merger of NSEL with 63 Moons, the company has complained to the CVC that Abhishek misled the government in ordering the merger. The company has cited observation by the Supreme Court in its complaint that the merger order was to serve private interests and not that of the public.

Another allegation against Abhishek is that as FMC chairman he had suppressed a vital police report in 2014 that recommended action against brokers in the NSEL scam. SEBI, in 2018, took note of the report and initiated action against brokers based on the police report.

Abhishek did not respond to email queries from BusinessLine.

Published on July 17, 2019
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