More than two months after the CBI registered an FIR against former Mumbai Police commissioner Sanjay Pandey, a special CBI court on Saturday granted the agency four-day custody of Pandey in connection with the alleged illegal phone-tapping of National Stock Exchange (NSE) employees by his IT firm.
Pandey was already in judicial custody of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the investigation against him.
Later, the ED also lodged a case against Pandey, a 1986-batch IPS officer, an audit company linked to his family, and others, including Ramakrishna.
“Pandey was already in judicial custody of ED. The CBI is probing how the audit company — iSec Services Pvt Ltd, which Pandey had incorporated in 2001 — did not raise a red flag that the NSE’s servers were compromised,” a source said.
Besides Pandey and his Delhi-based company, former NSE MD and CEOs Ravi Narain and Ramkrishna, executive vice president Ravi Varanasi, and head (premises) Mahesh Haldipur, among others, are named in CBI’s FIR. The agency has alleged that between 2009 and 2017, Narain, Ramkrishna (also in judicial custody in the NSE co-location scam at present), Varanasi and Haldipur had conspired to illegally intercept telephones of NSE employees, for which they hired iSec Services.
According to CBI, the company received a payment of Rs 4.45 crore do get illegal tapping done, which was camouflaged as “Periodic Study of Cyber Vulnerabilities” at NSE. The company also allegedly provided transcripts of the tapped-conversations to senior management of the stock exchange, according to the FIR.
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“…Top officials of NSE issued agreement and work orders in favour of said private company and illegally intercepted the phone calls of its employees by installing machines, in contravention of provisions under the Indian Telegraph Act,” the CBI had stated after the FIR.
The agency had also seized servers and digital devices of the company.
Officials said the interception was stopped in 2019, months after the CBI started probe in NSE co-location scam in 2018 and the machines and infrastructure used for interception was disposed of as e-waste by the NSE.