Former bureaucrat Ashok Chawla Friday resigned as chairman of the National Stock Exchange with immediate effect, the bourse said, hours after the CBI said the Centre has granted sanction to prosecute him in the Aircel-Maxis case. The exchange while making the announcement Friday night did not provide specific details.In a statement, the bourse said Chawla has resigned as “Public Interest Director/ Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Stock Exchange of India Ltd with immediate effect in light of recent legal developments”. The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has been probing the alleged lapses in high-frequency trading offered through NSE’s co-location facility. It was also investigating whether some brokers had unfair access to the exchange’s co-location facility.
A former finance secretary, Chawla took over as the chairman of the exchange on March 28, 2016. He had also served as civil aviation secretary and chairperson of the Competition Commission of India (CCI), among other roles. Chawla quit as Yes Bank chairman in November last year. The CBI earlier in the day informed a Delhi court that the Centre has granted sanction to prosecute five people, including serving and former bureaucrats, accused in the Aircel-Maxis case involving Congress leader and ex-Union minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti.
The then members of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), against whom sanctions have been procured, are the then secretary (economic affairs) Ashok Jha, the then additional secretary Ashok Chawla, the then joint secretary in finance ministry Kumar Sanjay Krishna, the then director in the ministry Dipak Kumar Singh, and the then under secretary in the ministry Ram Sharan. Of the five, three are working with various government departments while two have retired.
The submissions were made before Special Judge O P Saini who extended till February 1 the interim protection from arrest granted to Chidambaram and Karti in the Aircel-Maxis cases filed by the CBI and the ED. The CBI had on November 16 last year, informed the court that similar nod was procured for P Chidambaram. There are 18 accused in the case. Meanwhile, the NSE board has eight other members, including Managing Director and CEO Vikram Limaye.
There are three shareholder directors — Abhay Havaldar, Prakash Parthasarathy and and Sunita Sharma. The four public interest directors are Dinesh Kanabar, Naved Masood, T V Mohandas Pai and Dharmistha Raval.