NSE money laundering: Special court take cognizance of ED chargesheet

Special Judge Sunena Sharma on Saturday, while taking cognizance, said, «I find the material sufficient to take cognizance. Accordingly, I take cognizance of the offense of money laundering punishable under Section 4 of PMLA against all four accused persons.»

«I have carefully gone through the contents of the complaint, the statement of accused persons and witnesses recorded under Section 50 PMLA, and the documents filed along with the complaints,» the court said.

The complaint was filed through the Assistant Director, Directorate of Enforcement, Ministry of Finance, Government of India. As a result, an examination of the complainant is not required and the court ruled that the complainant’s examination was not necessary.

The ED had filed a charge sheet on 9 September in Delhi Rouse Avenue Court in the connection with NSE money laundering case.

The chargesheet named Chitra Ramkrishna, Ravi Narain (both former CEOs of the NSE), Sanjay Pandey former Mumbai Police commissioner and a private firm, as suspects in the alleged tapping of NSE officials’ phones and other irregularities.

M/s iSec service Pvt Ltd is accused of illegally tapping NSE employees’ phones between 2009 and 2017. The telephone monitoring was carried out by NSE using iSec without the consent and knowledge of employees. The mandatory permission of a competent authority, as required by Section 5 of the Indian Telegraph Act was also not taken.

The ED claimed that in the name of its Cyber Vulnerability Study, the iSec was monitoring all incoming and outgoing calls made from landline numbers of employees working in the Market Surveillance Department and others who had access to trading data.

NSE paid around Rs. 4.54 crore to iSec for this «illegal» activity and also sold the machines used for illegal monitoring/interception as e-waste scrap in 2019.

Ravi Narain, the former CEO of the NSE, was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in August 2022 in connection with a money laundering case.

According to the ED, the iSec was founded by Sanjay Pandey in 2001 who also held 50% of the company’s equity until 2006. He was also one of its two directors until May 2006, and he used to visit NSE to represent iSec during the initial meetings for the award of this contract in 2009. At that time, NSE was represented by Ravi Narayan (MD), Chitra Ramkrishna (DMD), Ravi Varanasi, and Mahesh Haldipur Head (Premises), NSE.

Even after, Sanjay Pandey resigned from the company’s board of directors, he continued to serve as an advisor to the company and was involved in discussions with NSE on behalf of iSec at various stages, according to the evidence. He also met with NSE officials on behalf of iSec.

Sanjay Pandey, a 1986-batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer who retired on June 30, 2022, was aware of the recording of NSE employees’ phone calls. He also used to send periodic reports to Ravi Varanasi, the then Head of Business Operations, NSE. These reports contained the details of isolated suspicious calls and the transcripts of said calls.

According to the ED, top NSE officials, including accused Chitra Ramkrishna, conspired with M/s iSec to defraud the NSE and its employees. The company, iSec was hired to illegally intercept NSE employees’ phone calls as part of this criminal conspiracy.

The agency also claimed that Ravi Narain held the position of Managing Director of the NSE from 2009 to 2013, and was aware of the tapping of phone calls of NSE employees. He was also the one who introduced accused Chitra Ramkrishna to accused Sanjay Pandey of iSec Services Pvt. Ltd.

He was a part of the NSE decision-making process that resulted in the decision to hire M/s iSec Services Pvt. Ltd. for the said work beginning on January 1, 2009, and the work was completed under the guise of Periodic Study of Cyber Vulnerabilities.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has also registered a case in the alleged National Stock Exchange (NSE) co-location scam, which involved the phone tapping of NSE employees, in response to orders from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

With Inputs from ANI.

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