As per recent media reports, Ramesh Abhishek has been shortlisted for the formal interview of potential candidates for the appointment of the next Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) chief to be held on July 15, 2020. This is quite surprising considering there are several investigations underway against Abhishek. Of the possible candidates mentioned, one is already out because he has been assigned a different post. This pares down the list to a few, of which one is most undeserving – Ramesh Abhishek. I am not saying it – the Office of The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) is. More on the remaining members on the list later.
Abhishek, a 1982 batch IAS officer of Bihar cadre was the chief of the Forward Markets Commission (FMC) between 2012 and 2015. The CVC has received several complaints against Ramesh Abhishek which the CVC calls serious, specific, and verifiable allegations. The CVC has ordered an investigation against Abhishek under sections 8(1) (d) and 8(1) (h) of the CVC Act, 2003. Further, the matter is pending before the Hon’ble Madras High Court.
It is indeed alarming to know that an individual whose basic capabilities and integrity as the chairman of FMC are questioned to this day, and several investigations are being carried out on the same, is even being considered for the position of Chairman of SEBI.
During his tenure as chairman of the FMC, Ramesh Abhishek has been known to favour brokers in the National Spot Exchange Limited (NSEL) case. He did not act against these big brokers despite the fact that they were involved in several large scale irregularities such as Know Your Client (KYC) manipulation, Black Money infusion, Client code modification, KYC lending etc. The report by the then Additional Commissioner of Police – Economic Offences Wing (EOW) Rajwardhan Sinha, submitted to Ramesh Abhishek as the FMC Chairman, clearly mentioned these irregularities by the brokers and advised stringent action against them, but was suppressed by him in order to protect them.
Even an investigation report by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) held the brokers responsible for the same misdeeds as reported by the EOW.
It is indeed alarming to know that an individual whose basic capabilities and integrity as the chairman of FMC are questioned to this day, and several investigations are being carried out on the same, is even being considered for the position of Chairman of SEBI. This will most definitely affect the institutional integrity of the single-most-important regulator in the country for financial markets considering SEBI is responsible for regulating the very same set of brokers whom Abhishek has been known to unabashedly favour and protect.
A copy of the Office Memorandum issued by the CVC to look into the complaints against Ramesh Abhishek is shown below:
 Interview to choose next SEBI chief likely on July 15 – Jul 5, 2020, TheHinduBusinessLine
 FMC and Ramesh Abhishek – A Thousand Lies Can’t Cover Up The Real Truth – Apr 21, 2019, PGurus.com
 Law starts catching up with influential Mumbai brokers – Jan 5, 2019, The Sunday Guardian
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