A Delhi court has taken cognizance of an Enforcement Directorate (ED) complaint against former National Stock Exchange (NSE) CEO Chitra Ramakrishna, the bourse’s ex-MD Ravi Narain, former Mumbai Police commissioner Sanjay Pandey, and his company iSec Services Ltd in a case of tapping phones of NSE employees.
Special Judge Sunena Sharma on Saturday took cognisance of the ED prosecution complaint, which is equivalent to a chargesheet.
The court said that Ramakrishna in her statement to ED admitted the fact of “intercepting/monitoring/recording of telephone calls of NSE employees, and that she met Sanjay Pandey in connection with said interception/monitoring/recording of telephone calls and introduced him to other NSE employees working under her for said illegal purpose”.
Her statement also alleged that she “communicated to [the] team that the said work would be carried out under the name of a contract called Cyber Vulnerabilities Studies”, the court said. This fact, it noted, has been further corroborated by statements of NSE employees and iSec.
The court said ED’s probe also revealed that the “illegal activity was carried out at the behest of said accused since 1997”. Ramakrishna, it noted, “remained “actively involved in criminal activity related to scheduled offences and indulged in or knowingly assisted in process/actively connected with the proceeds of crime, including its acquisition, use and projection thereof as untainted property”.
Thereby, the court said, the former NSE CEO “has committed an offence of money laundering as defined under Section 3 of PMLA, 2002”.
On the role of iSec, the court said it acquired more than Rs 4.5 crore — Rs 4,54,38,162 — from NSE in connivance with top officials of NSE, projecting this as legitimate income of the services provided under the contract of ‘Periodic Study of Cyber Vulnerabilities’ of NSE.
As per the investigation, between 2009 and 2017, top officials of NSE, abusing their official position, and iSec had conspired to illegally intercept phone calls of NSE employees in the guise of ‘Periodic Study of Cyber Vulnerabilities’ of the bourse. This breached confidentiality and privacy of the employees of NSE and caused wrongful gain of Rs 4,54,38,162 to iSec as payment for this task and corresponding wrongful loss to NSE, the court held.
Sanjay Pandey stands accused of being “aware of the interception/monitoring/recording of telephone calls of NSE employees”, the court said. It said Pandey “used to send periodic reports through some employees of iSec to Ravi Varanasi, the then Head (of) Business Operations, NSE, and these reports contained details of isolated suspicious calls and transcripts of the said calls.”
The agency has accused Ramakrishna of “conspiring with iSec to cheat NSE and its employees, and in furtherance of this criminal conspiracy, iSec was hired for illegal interception of the phone calls of NSE employees.”