Sebi controversy: Sathe says nothing wrong in being ‘RSS man’

Friday, Aug 14, 2015,18:18 IST By metrovaartha A A A

New Delhi | Amid a controversy over his appointment to markets regulator Sebi’s board, senior lawyer Arun Sathe today said he will do his job judiciously and there is nothing wrong in him being an RSS man.
Stating that he has been nominated by the Finance Ministry on the Sebi board, Sathe said, I have been an active member of the BJP. I was its National Executive member. I am an RSS man. So, what’s wrong in it?
Sathe, elder brother of Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, has been appointed by the government a Part-Time Member of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), which regulates the capital market and thousands of entities, including listed companies present in the marketplace.
The appointment of Sathe, who has been an RSS full-timer in the past and fought Lok Sabha elections as a BJP candidate in 1989, has raised eyebrows about alleged political considerations in government appointments to key positions.
When asked about the controversy over his appointment, Sathe told PTI that it was not a full-time job.
I will not be employed by Sebi. I have been nominated by the Finance Ministry (as a Part-Time Member). I will do the job as mandated under the Sebi Act. I will do the job judiciously, he said.
His appointment comes at a time when a huge uproar has taken place over alleged political influence in appointments made by the government to some key institutions, including the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII).
Besides, various key positions are scheduled to go vacant soon at a number of regulatory bodies, including RBI and Sebi, and the government would need to fill them.
Sathe’s appointment has also been made at a time when one more position is vacant on Sebi’s board and its Chairman U K Sinha’s current tenure will also end in a few months.
The notification, dated July 28, said that the appointment has been made under a provision of the Sebi Act that empowers the government to appoint five members on the board of this key regulatory body.
Sathe, who has been on boards of some companies as well as an independent director, is expected to attend his first Sebi board meeting later this month.
Defending the appointment, Finance Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi said Sathe is well qualified and a person of high integrity and there is no reason for any controversy.
A nominee member on Sebi board also said Sathe is probably a qualified person for this position, but still such appointments send across a wrong message if the person concerned has strong political affiliations.
However, another senior official said there is a BJP government in the country and the people who believe in its philosophy and ideology would naturally be given important positions and not those close to the Congress or Left parties.