About The Book

The Harshad Mehta scam of 1992 led to profound changes in capital market regulation and infrastructure. One of these was setting up the NSE as a cleaner alternative to the century-old, scam- and faction-ridden BSE. In a supreme irony, NSE itself got embroiled in the algo scam originating in the Exchange’s sanctum sanctorum: the co-location servers for high frequency trading. Were systems deliberately kept weak to allow unfair access to certain brokers? Did NSE employees collude with them? Who was responsible? Here is the whole story of NSE’s commercial success leading to arrogance and fall from grace, even as it continues to remain a highly profitable near-monopoly.

The Plot

The story of the National Stock Exchange is one of sharp contrasts: unparalleled commercial success and monumental hubris; a model of efficiency in the public eye, but secretive about sharing information; enforcing strict discipline on brokers yet bending rules to suit its own ambitions. While NSE’s operational success is a unique global example, its ugly side has remained hidden so far: it captured the regulator to expand into new businesses ignoring conflict of interest, made illegal appointments to top posts, and worked ruthlessly to destroy competition.

These are just a few examples of its alarming abuse of absolute power, which steadily increased over the years to a peak under the chairmanship of CB Bhave and UK Sinha at the Securities and Exchange Board of India. Based on three and a half decades of reporting on the Exchange, confidential documents, information obtained under the Right to Information Act and interviews with insiders, this book documents the complete NSE story.

Conceived as a means to rein in the Bombay Stock Exchange, it was extraordinarily successful in building an innovative, efficient and professionally run exchange against all odds. Sadly, it morphed into an arrogant and secretive monopoly, drunk on power, with no accountability. The hubris eventually burst into the public domain as the co-location scam.

The Book
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