The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) grilled Ravi Narain before Chitra Ramkrishna to probe certain irregularities related to the alleged abuse of co-location (Colo) facility by a stockbroker at the National Stock Exchange (NSE).
Mr Narain was the managing director (MD) and chief executive officer (CEO) of NSE before handing over the charge to Ms Ramkrishna. He then became shareholder director and vice-chairman of NSE before resigning in June 2017.
Earlier, it was speculated that he had fled to London, but the CBI source confirmed that Mr Narain is very much in India and his statement was recorded.
“Ravi was asked to join the investigation. He responded to our summons. He was called at a Delhi office where he was grilled. He is also a suspect in the case,” the source from CBI told IANS.
He was elusive and tried to evade a lot of questions. He also requested that the lookout circular (LoC) issued against him be closed.
CBI is set to record a statement of Anand Subramanian who was hired as chief strategic adviser by Ms Ramkrishna flouting all rules.
Last week, Chitra Ramkrishna, the ex-MD and CEO of NSE, was grilled by CBI in Mumbai. On 18th February, she recorded her statement with the agency.
CBI had asked her around 50 questions. She had tried to play the victim card by claiming she did not know a lot of things. She had also claimed that she was innocent and somebody was trying to frame her.
CBI had asked her: for how long she had been sending emails to Yogi Baba; was she given any cut for sharing classified information; if yes, where did she invest the money.
CBI had already issued a LoC against Chitra, Anand Subramanian, the former group operating officer (GOO) and Ravi Narain, the ex-NSE CEO (before Chitra).
Sources told IANS that Chitra and two others involved in the case were a flight risk and, hence, the LoCs were issued. Arrests in the case are now more likely. “There was a flight risk. There were possibilities that they may flee abroad and we issued the LoC by way of taking preventive steps,” sources had told IANS.
The CBI has already lodged a first information report (FIR) against Ms Ramkrishna based on the 192-page order passed by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). SEBI recently penalised Ms Ramkrishna for passing sensitive information about NSE to this unknown or faceless spiritual entity residing in the Himalayas.
Earlier in May 2018, CBI registered a case against Sanjay Gupta, owner and promoter of OPG Securities Pvt Ltd, Aman Kakrady (brother-in-law of Sanjay), Ajay Shah (who is alleged to have facilitated Mr Gupta by developing and providing algo software Chankaya) and against some officials of SEBI and NSE.
Last year, SEBI imposed an overall penalty of over Rs5 crore on OPG Securities, along with its promoter and MD Sanjay Gupta, and two other directors, Sangeeta Gupta and Om Prakash Gupta. SEBI imposed a penalty of Rs5 crore jointly on the company and the directors, along with Rs10 lakh fine each on OPG Securities and Sanjay Gupta.
As per a complaint received by the market regulator from a whistle-blower, OPG Securities used the systems at NSE to its advantage by hiring Nagbhusan Bhat, who was working with Omnesys Technologies, to figure out which server was working better.
The brokerage also allegedly made certain arrangements with a staffer from NSE data centre, Jagdish Joshi, who would inform it of the time when the servers would start so that they could be the first to connect.
Last Thursday, the income-tax (I-T) department conducted searches at the Mumbai and Chennai residence of Ms Ramkrishna. At around 7am, about eight officials from the I-T department landed at the home of Ms Ramkrisha and her mother’s house. Ms Ramkrishna stays at Chembur. Her mother stays in a separate house.
During the searches, icriminating documents were recovered from the residences of Ms Ramkrishna. The I-T department scanned various transactions and digital records. They also recorded the statements of a few of her employees.
In an order issued on 11 February 2022
, SEBI barred Chitra Ramkrishna, Ravi Narain, former vice-chairman and Anand Subramanian, former GOO and adviser to MD and CEO, from associating with any market infrastructure institution (MII) or any intermediary registered with SEBI. While imposing a monetary penalty of Rs3 crore on Ms Ramkrishna, the market regulator has asked NSE to forfeit her excess leave encashment of Rs1.54 crore and the deferred bonus of Rs2.83 crore. The market regulator also restricted NSE from launching any new product for six months.
Chitra Ramkrishna resigned from NSE on 2 December 2016. However, SEBI raised serious questions on how the NSE board allowed her to exit from the Exchange, despite the misconduct in appointing and sharing confidential information with an unknown person.
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