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‘She compromised integrity of financial system’: CBI opposes Chitra’s bail plea

The agency told the court that Ramakrishna by “gross abuse of her official position illegally and arbitrarily appointed Anand Subramanian, who did not have any prior experience”.

Chitra Ramkrishna, former MD and CEO of NSE (Reuters/File)

The CBI opposed the bail plea of former NSE managing director (MD) Chitra Ramakrishna before a Delhi court, arguing that she was involved in a serious offence affecting the integrity of the country’s financial system.

The CBI filed its reply before Additional Sessions Judge Sanjeev Aggarwal, stating that Ramakrishna is “involved in a serious offence affecting the integrity and functioning of the largest stock exchange of our country and the robustness/integrity of financial system”.

The CBI submitted that the co-location architecture was out in place under Ramakrishna’s tenure as the managing director. The agency stated that Muralidharan Natrajan, who was responsible for putting in place the co-location architecture directly reported to her.

The agency told the court that Ramakrishna by “gross abuse of her official position illegally and arbitrarily appointed Anand Subramanian, who did not have any prior experience”.

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The agency told the court that the applicant did not bring the fact that Subramanian was elevated to Group Operating Officer (GOO) and his nomination before the Remuneration Committee, thus granting him huge benefits.

The agency stated that Subramanian was privy to sensitive information and was reporting to Ramakrishna. The agency also claimed that Ramakrishna was continuously evasive and non-cooperative.

It told the court that investigation is underway to ascertain the role of NSE officials looking into the matter of co-location that gave undue advantage to certain stock brokers.

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The CBI submitted that Ramakrishna had also influenced the replies filed by the NSE to the queries posed by the SEBI, which shows she has “no respect for legal process and can go to any extent to frustrate the investigation”.

According to the SEBI, several key decisions taken by Ramakrishna during her tenure as the NSE’s MD and CEO from 2013 to 2016, including Subramanian’s appointment, were guided by an unidentified yogi “who may be largely dwelling in the Himalayan ranges”. Ramakrishna is alleged to have shared confidential information of the bourse with the “Himalayan Yogi”.

The 2018 case pertains to charges of preferential access to the trading system to some brokers through the co-location facility where brokers can buy “rack space” for their servers at the NSE, early login and “dark fibre”, which can allow a trader split-second faster access to the data feed of the exchange. Even a split-second edge is considered capable of bringing huge gains to a trader.

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The CBI has booked Sanjay Gupta, the owner and promoter of Delhi-based OPG Securities Pvt Ltd, and others in the case.

According to the CBI, Gupta abused the NSE server architecture between 2010 and 2014, in criminal conspiracy with unknown officials of the exchange, and even bribed SEBI officials.

First published on: 08-04-2022 at 14:35 IST
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