It is ironical that G Mohan Gopal did not draw much attention when he was part of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), say board insiders. This was surprising because Gopal was known to be a no-nonsense and straight-forward person, who could not be manipulated.
The man instrumental in making Sebi disclose and upload its agenda papers on its website is now in news for his letter to the Prime Minister’s Office on the NSDL issue alleging abuse of power to favour the then chairman.
Gopal is the director of the National Judicial Academy and is highly regarded in the legal circles, especially among judges regular at the institute.
Gopal became a member of Sebi when M Damoradan was the chairman. Those who know him say he sticks to his points and expresses those in a way that clearly shows he stands to lose nothing. If you cannot convince him about something, it is difficult to get it through, they say.
This is corroborated by the fact that he, as a member of the board, went on to question the role of the regulator itself. Not many would question their chairman and the organisation they work for. Many feel he was the internal watchdog, or the whistle-blower, at Sebi.
In a way, his stand has been vindicated nearly two years after Sebi set aside his orders related to NSDL, earlier headed by former Sebi chairman C B Bhave. The Supreme Court has asked Sebi to reconsider the orders of the two-member committee comprising Gopal and former RBI deputy governor V Leeladhar.
Gopal, who hails from Kerala, holds a masters degree and doctorate in law from Harvard Law School, USA, and a bachelors degree in law from the Delhi University. He has earlier worked with the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and has taught law at the National University of Singapore and Georgetown University Law School, Washington, DC.
He was also responsible for designing the code on conflict of interests for Sebi members. According to someone who has tracked him closely, the code was followed in letter but not in spirit when the NSDL case was being handled. This explains why his profile on the National Judicial Academy website does not mention anything about his stint at Sebi.