The Enforcement Directorate Tuesday arrested Ravi Narain, the former Managing Director and CEO of the National Stock Exchange (NSE), in connection with a money laundering case related to the alleged illegal phone-tapping of the exchange’s employees. He was the MD and CEO of the exchange between April 1994 and March 2013, before being appointed its non-executive Vice-Chairman in April 2013. He served as the Vice-Chairman till June 2017.
The ED had in July arrested Chitra Ramkrishna (who had taken over as the MD of the exchange from Narain) and former Mumbai Commissioner of Police Sanjay Pandey in the case.
Ramkrishna was the MD and CEO of NSE from April 2013 to December 2016.
The agency has claimed that iSec Securities Pvt Ltd, an IT audit firm linked to Pandey, had illegally tapped phones of NSE employees between 2009 and 2017 upon Ramakrishna’s instructions. Sources now said Narain too had a role in allowing illegal phone tapping.
The present ED case is based on an FIR registered recently by the Central Bureau of Investigation against Pandey, iSec Securities and Ramkrishna, among others. Seeking Ramkrishna’s remand, the ED had told the court of Special Judge Sunena Sharma that the payment of Rs 4.54 crore to iSec Securities for “periodic study of cyber vulnerabilities” was allegedly phone tapping.
“The work orders/ contracts/ agreements were processed by Chitra Ramkrishna during her tenure as Deputy Managing Director and Managing Director of NSE. During the entire period of offence i.e., from 01.01.2009 till 13.02.2017, Ms Chitra Ramkrishna was holding the position of either Deputy Managing Director (till 2010) or Joint Managing Director (till 2013) or Managing Director (till December, 2016) of NSE,” the ED told the court.
It also alleged there was evidence to show that iSec Services contract was coterminous with Chitra Ramkrishna’s stint in NSE.
“It is further averred that after she relinquished the post of Managing Director of NSE in December, 2016, the contract for so called ‘Periodic Study of Cyber Vulnerabilities of NSE’ expired on 13.02.2017 and was never renewed subsequently, thus proving that the said illegal activity was co-terminus with her holding key position as Joint Managing Director/Managing Director of NSE,” the ED had said.
This is the second case relating to manipulation of the NSE co-location facility by some brokers. The first ED case is based on a CBI FIR which has alleged that during the tenure of Ramkrishna as CEO, some stock brokers illegally got preferential access to the NSE server through its co-location facility leading to huge financial gains to them.