NSE scam: HC seeks ED reply on bail plea by Mumbai’s former top cop Sanjay Pandey
Pandey was arrested by the central agency on July 19, and is currently in judicial custody.
The Delhi high court on Tuesday sought the stand of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on a bail plea by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Pandey in connection with a money laundering case related to alleged illegal phone tapping and snooping of National Stock Exchange (NSE) employees.
Justice Jasmeet Singh issued notice to ED on the bail plea and asked it to file its status report.
The court also issued notice and sought response from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on separate petitions filed by Pandey and his company iSec Services Private Limited, seeking quashing of the FIR lodged by the agency in relation to the alleged phone tapping for commission of offences under the Indian Penal Code, Indian Telegraph Act and Prevention of Corruption Act.
iSec in conspiracy with other accused persons illegally intercepted MTNL lines at the NSE between 2009 and 2017 and recorded calls by various NSE officials, according to the CBI. It was alleged that the telephone monitoring was carried out by iSec without taking permission of the competent authority, as required under the provisions of the Indian Telegraph Act, and also without the knowledge or consent of NSE employees.
Pandey, who was arrested by the ED on July 19, is currently in judicial custody.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Pandey, who challenged a trial court’s August 4 order rejecting bail, urged the court to list the bail plea after a short date, and said: “He is a senior citizen, a police commissioner. He is not going to run away.”
It was further contended that the CBI FIR ought to be quashed on grounds that no offence, as alleged by the agency, is made out against the former Mumbai top cop. Pandey contended that the FIR has been registered only to fulfil a “political vendetta” against him, adding that it was “wholly baseless” and that “no offence was made out”.
Rejecting Pandey’s bail earlier this month, the trial court had said the material available prima face showed he was actively involved in the execution of recording and monitoring of calls at the NSE, and was directly communicating with bourse staff as well as those of iSec Services, which was responsible for a cyber security audit at the NSE.
The ED had on July 14 arrested Chitra Ramkrishna, former chief of the NSE, in the phone tapping case. Ramkrishna was then already in jail in the CBI case relating to the co-location scam at the NSE involving alleged manipulation of the bourse. The matter would be heard next in September.