CBI files charge sheet against ex-NSE CEO Chitra Ramkrishna

The charge sheet was filed in the court of special CBI judge Sanjeev Aggarwal in Delhi, naming the two for allegedly providing preferential and unfair access to NSE’s trading system to Delhi-based stock broker OPG Securities Pvt Ltd and its owner, Sanjay Gupta to the detriment of others.
The CBI on Thursday filed a charge sheet against Chitra Ramkrishna, former chief executive officer of the National Stock Exchange. (Reuters)
The CBI on Thursday filed a charge sheet against Chitra Ramkrishna, former chief executive officer of the National Stock Exchange. (Reuters)
Updated on Apr 22, 2022 01:15 AM IST
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By, New Delhi

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday filed a charge sheet against Chitra Ramkrishna, former chief executive officer of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) and Anand Subramanian, the bourse’s then group operating officer (GOO), in connection with a co-location fraud case, people familiar with the development said.

The charge sheet was filed in the court of special CBI judge Sanjeev Aggarwal in Delhi, naming the two for allegedly providing preferential and unfair access to NSE’s trading system to Delhi-based stock broker OPG Securities Pvt Ltd and its owner, Sanjay Gupta to the detriment of others. Ramkrishna was arrested by CBI on March 6 while Subramanian was arrested on February 25.

The charge sheet further alleged that key information such as NSE’s organisational structure, dividend scenario, financial results, human resources policy, response to regulator, and future projects were sent to an email ID, rigyajursama@outlook.com, between 2013 and 2016. A probe is underway to ascertain who the email ID belongs to.

A Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) report on February 11 said that a “mysterious Himalayan yogi” was guiding the actions of Ramkrishna. The CBI, however, is yet to conclude if Subramanian is that yogi.

The co-location fraud case surfaced in 2015 after a whistleblower alleged that some NSE members were making gains by getting early access to the stock market trading system (because their servers were located in the exchange’s premises), in collusion with some exchange officials. The fraud is believed to have taken place between 2010 and 2014. The CBI case was registered in 2018.

Sebi, the stock market regulator, probed the fraud which, along with the circumstances surrounding Subramanian’s appointment and remuneration, forced Ramkrishna’s resignation.

A forensic audit carried out by Deloitte in 2016 revealed that NSE, under the leadership of Chitra Ramkrishna, purposefully did not have defined policies and procedures with regard to secondary server access, which gave unfair advantage to some brokers at the cost of others.

The CBI probe revealed that Anand Subramanian was appointed as chief strategic advisor of NSE by Ramkrishna without following due procedure. “Despite not having proper qualification, he was being paid a very high salary,” a CBI document, seen by HT, said in March after her arrest. In a very short period, he was elevated to the post of GOO and Advisor to the MD (Ramkrishna).

Subramanian was also placed on the board of several subsidiary companies of NSE, which made him privy to major decisions of the exchange, CBI added shortly after his arrest.

On February 11, Sebi charged Ramkrishna with alleged governance lapses in the appointment of Subramanian as the chief strategic adviser and his re-designation as GOO. The regulator also imposed a fine of 3 crore on Ramkrishna, 2 crore each on NSE, Subramanian and Narain, and 6 lakh on V R Narasimhan, the chief regulatory and compliance officer.

Ramkrishna’s legal team did not respond to text messages seeking a response.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) also recently renewed its money laundering probe in the NSE scam and questioned some former senior officers of the bourse.

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Saturday, June 25, 2022