Parts 1, 2 of this series can be accessed here. This is Part 3.
The meeting that Ramesh Abhishek convened on August 4, 2013, in Mumbai on the National Spot Exchange Limited (NSEL) crisis was perhaps one of his most important meetings as a bureaucrat. An IAS officer, chosen from the crème-de-la-crème of the country, can be trusted to have an above average intelligence. The Indian Administrative Service (IAS) instills a certain regimented/ dogmatic approach to conducting meetings. It is not unusual to see IAS officers have their peons carry their laptop bags for them. The reason I am mentioning this is that there is a method that they always adhere to. So, what happened on Aug 4, 2013, bears close scrutiny.
The minutes of the meeting went missing
On August 4th 2013, all stakeholders of the NSEL assembled under the aegis of the Forward Markets Commission (FMC), the meeting of which was presided over by Ramesh Abhishek, as chairman, FMC. In the meeting, detailed discussions were held to ascertain obligations, outstanding claims, and collaterals seeking inputs from all members who finally arrived at the conclusion that everything is in order. Interviews to business channels show how brokers expressed satisfaction over the payment schedule that was worked out and the collateral covering it. Defaulting members fully accepted and acknowledged outstanding dues and promised to pay them in a phased manner. Those who attended the meeting on that day heaved a sigh of relief that the crisis had blown over.
In a meeting of such Himalayan proportions, where a consensus and cooperation of all stakeholders was sealed and bounded, isn’t it surprising that the FMC does not have minutes of such an important meeting? Or does it seem in order when it was told that the minutes could not be located? The machinations of Ramesh Abhishek could go beyond and breach the depths of any decency that free and democratic markets follow. It is not that he was overseeing a large complex of market segments. His brief restricted to only two market segments, commodities derivatives and spot and it is in the latter that he created the mess by his lopsided approach and abrupt actions and he should have been in the forefront to solve it soonest since he was having every power and resource to do it. Perhaps this was not the intended outcome, his masters wanted; perhaps it was extreme sloppiness on his part – we will never know the real reason. What we do know is that this was a planned disaster, something similar to his head honcho replacing pages in files to change the narrative (it happened at least two times – one, in the Ishrat Jehan encounter and two, to frame an honest officer in NDTV Frauds)
The tentacles of this unofficial group of rogue officers that did the bidding of the evil genius have been documented in the C-Company series. Their tentacles of self-interest spread across the entire spectrum of Indian finance; the mission was to destroy a fast-growing group for which officers like Ramesh Abhishek were willing to breach any established practice or protocol looking for some lucre sometime in the future either in the form of a lucrative posting or a higher position. Despite PGurus’ determined effort to flush out and name and shame several of these individuals, they continue to occupy key positions of power.
Are the markets in say the United States clean? Maybe not but once malfeasance is detected; the full weight of the law is brought upon the offender. Witness how so many people close to the sitting President Donald Trump are going to jail. But India, the chalta hai attitude continues.
Currently, Ramesh Abhishek is the Secretary of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). People in the know say that even here, he continues to exercise nepotism and favoritism. He is about to retire and the rumor mills are working overtime, saying that he is angling for the job of the Regulator of Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT) city. GIFT is being planned to be an international financial service hub center. Done right, GIFT can give UAE a ride for its money and eventually become the most significant financial hub from Middle East to Far East/ Japan. Such an important position should not go to a known failure. GIFT has its own share of scandals, owing to its association with IL & FS and the last thing Modi wants on his hands is to put an inept regulator.
 PM Modi knows about the GIFT City Scandal but has Done Nothing About it – Nov 25, 2018, NewsClickIn Channel