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SEBI hurriedly appoints the wife of the Gandhi family’s close aide as a key panel chief after the 2024 Lok Sabha election results

Notably, Usha Thorat is the wife of Yashwant Thorat. After retiring as the Chairman of NABARD in November 2007, he was made the CEO of the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation and continued to hold that post for well over a decade, the report added.  

In a seemingly hurried move amidst the developments around the formation of a new government at the centre, market regulator SEBI has appointed Usha Thorat, a close aide of the Gandhi family, to a key SEBI panel, as reported by Bussiness World on Wednesday (5th June). According to the report, SEBI appointed Usha Thorat as the Chairperson of the Committee on Settlement Guarantee Fund of Stock Exchanges. 

It added that SEBI’s move to appoint Thorat as the head of the committee appears stranger on two counts: the timing and choice of candidate. 

Notably, Usha Thorat is the wife of Yashwant Thorat. After retiring as the Chairman of NABARD in November 2007, he was made the CEO of the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation and continued to hold that post for well over a decade, the report added.  

For those unversed, the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation is a private trust of the Gandhi Family. Sonia Gandhi is its chairperson and Rahul, Priyanka Gandhi, and P Chidambaram are other members of the board. 

The Businessworld report points out that the CEO of the private trust indicates that Thorat has been a close aide of the Gandhi family. Additionally, when Congress-led UPA was in power and P Chidambaram and Dr KP Krishnan were heading the finance ministry, his wife Usha Thorat was appointed as the deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India. 

Furthermore, when Ravi Narain and Chitra Ramkrishna were calling the shots in the UPA Era and KPK held sway over SEBI, Thorat was also made the NSE board member. 

Thus, the appointment of Usha Thorat as the head of a crucial SEBI committee on the day of election results showed that some higher-ups in SEBI lacked trust in PM Modi’s return to power and were making appointments of people known to be close to the Gandhi Family, Palak Shah of the Business World added. 

Incidentally, only her name as the chairperson of the new committee was announced while the names of all other panel members are yet to be decided. The report asked, “What signal was SEBI sending and to whom?”

As per the report, it is well known that BSE has increasing liabilities towards SEBI fees and the exchange had to reverse the bulk SMS-related charges it had billed to the investor fund, both of which are nearly Rs 150 crore. However, the prominent thing to note is that BSE may also have to pay thousands of crores to the Settlement Guarantee Fund (SGF) due to rising volumes at the exchange. The principle governing the SGF requires that as the trading volume of an exchange increases, its contribution to the SGF should also increase. Last year, the NSE paid approximately Rs 5000 crore more to its SGF.

The ratio of notional volumes in derivatives at BSE is nearly three times higher than that at NSE. Most conservatively, even if the BSE has to pay around a couple of thousand crore to the SGF, it would be a major blow to the profitability of the exchange and its fast-rising share price, which some punters are trying to push higher, the report further added. 

Earlier this year, the exchange’s share price witnessed a fall on account of its higher SGF for the currency derivatives segment, as confirmed by the exchange’s own statements to the media. In this context, SEBI’s hasty formation of a committee on SGF and the appointment of Usha Thorat as its chairperson have intrigued the market experts.

Corporate India maintains unusual silence on PM Modi’s inevitable third term: Report

In the report, Palak Shah noted that top Indian businesspersons are mostly savvy but they have maintained unusual silence on India’s election outcome. 

It has been evidently clear that the NDA has the majority. Additionally, the NDA partners have unanimously elected Narendra Modi as the alliance leader, making it official that he will be the Prime Minister of India for the third consecutive term. It is historic, as after Jawaharlal Nehru, PM Modi became the second leader to become PM thrice consecutively, prompting many to wonder why corporate India is still unsure of the outcome. 

The report highlighted that top businessmen including Uday Kotak, Anand Mahindra, Sunil Mittal, Mukesh Ambani, Kumar Birla (who was given Padma Bhushan by BJP) or Harsh Goenka and even well-known faces and fund managers who are part of PM’s Economic Advisory Council, have maintained silence and have not congratulated PM Modi for NDA’s majority in the Lok Sabha elections. 

The first and the only Tweet on social media platform ‘X’ congratulating the PM for the third term on the day of the poll results, came from NSE MD and CEO Ashish Chauhan, the report added.

It is pertinent to note that a host of foreign leaders including US President Joe Biden, Italian President Giorgia Meloni, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and others have congratulated PM Modi for the historic achievement.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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