When high-profile Amitabh Kant, a 1980-batch IAS officer of the Kerala cadre, moved to NITI Ayog as CEO after retirement, it was expected that the government will choose an efficient, hardworking and honest officer for the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotions (DIPP) as his successor. The appointment of Ramesh Abhishek, a 1982-batch IAS officer of the Bihar cadre and resident of Odisha, as Secretary DIPP has surprised many upright civil servants in Udyog Bhawan. Abhishek served as Chairman of the Forward Markets Commission (FMC), chief regulator of commodity futures markets in India, for five years (2010-2015). It monitored the National Spot Exchange Limited (NSEL) that is today embroiled in a Rs 5,600-crore scandal, allegedly swindling the money of investors. Given the manner in which the NSEL was created, not only did the Forward Markets Commission fail its primary duties from the beginning, but it allegedly allowed the scam to happen. Though Ramesh Abhishek claims that he informed the government in 2012 itself about the irregularities, but by that time millions had been swindled. Spot trading operations on the exchange were taking place 2008 but the first notice to NSEL was sent in 2012, two years after Ramesh Abhishek took over as FMC Chairman. Sources who are aware of the operations of NSEL CMD Jignesh Shah informed gfiles that Ramesh Abhishek was taken care of by the NSEL establishment. It appears the mandatory CVC and IB reports before appointing a Secretary of DIPP, a very sensitive department, are just an eyewash.
VOL. 10, ISSUE 5 | AUGUST, 2016