Dr. Kandathil Mathew Abraham, a 1982 Kerala cadre IAS officer, is best known for exposing irregularities in the functioning of the Sahara group during his tenure as the whole-time member of the Securities and Exchange Board of India. Despite facing intense pressure from the government, he exposed two of the fraudulent companies of the group and held them liable to refund investors. IIT Kanpur has conferred upon him the Satyendra K Dubey Memorial Award 2016 for displaying highest professional integrity and honesty while serving his duty.
Dr. Abraham is an M.Tech. in Industrial Management from IIT Kanpur. He also is a Licensed Financial Analyst (LIFA) professional from the USA and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
In 1982, he joined the Indian Administrative Services (IAS) and held various positions in the Government of Kerala. He has been a Secretary in the Department of Finance, Government of Kerala for six years. He was also the founding fund manager of the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund and the Principal Secretary, Higher Education Department, Govt. of Kerala. In 2008, he took charge as the Whole Time Member of the SEBI.
During his tenure with the SEBI, he exposed the financial irregularities at the Sahara group and passed an order dated 23rd June 2011 against the Sahara India Real Estate Corporation (SIREC) and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation (SHIC). "The two companies are without a doubt, clearly in gross violation of the provisions of the laws applicable to public companies making offers of securities to the public. (They) seem to be unable to furnish even basic data on the identity of its own investor..." he said, in his order. He exposed the two shadowy companies so thoroughly that neither the Securities Appellate Tribunal nor the Supreme Court could find faults with it. The Supreme Court agreed with almost all the contentions of Dr. Abraham in his final order against the two Sahara companies. His work was so meticulous and unimpeachable that nobody could challenge its authenticity.
Interestingly, Dr. Abraham was not given an extension at SEBI allegedly due to immense political pressure. He even wrote a letter to the then Prime Minster accusing the Finance Ministry for pressuring the regulator to go easy on several high-profile cases including Sahara. Later, the Finance Ministry denied the allegations. His tenure ended under a cloud.
Currently, Dr. Abraham serves as an Additional Chief Secretary with the Kerala government in Thiruvananthapuram. He is also a visiting Professor of Finance in IIT Kanpur and Asian School of Business, Thiruvananthapuram.