The Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) has granted interim relief to former NSE chief executive Chitra Ramkrishna, ordering her to deposit only ₹2 crore within six weeks.
"If such an amount is deposited, the balance amount shall not be recovered during the pendency of the appeal," SAT members Tarun Agarwala and Meera Swarup told Ramkrishna's lawyers.
In February, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) had imposed a fine of ₹3 crore on Ramkrishna for allegedly taking executive decisions and sharing sensitive information with a "Himalayan Yogi". The penalty was less than 7% of Chitra Ramkrishna's severance package of ₹44 crore.
SAT has also ordered the National Stock Exchange (NSE) to deposit ₹4.73 crore towards leave encashment and deferred bonus of Ramkrishna in an escrow account instead of depositing it in the Investor Protection Fund Trust.
The market regulator had earlier directed the NSE to deposit the excess leave encashment of ₹1.54 crore and deferred bonus of ₹2.83 crore of Ramkrishna in its Investor Protection Fund Trust.
"Such deposit in an escrow account would be subject to the result of the appeal," the tribunal said.
Ramkrishna's counsel C.S. Vaidyanathan challenged SEBI's decision to impose penalty under the Section 23A of the Securities Contracts Regulation Act (SCRA). "It was urged that this provision, being prospective, could not apply to any violation which was committed prior to the amending Act and therefore the penalty under this head was incorrect and could not be sustained," the plea read.
"The whole time member proceeded to pass the impugned order without granting an opportunity of hearing which was violative of Article 14 Constitution of India," Vaidyanathan argued.
SAT, which has listed the case for hearing on June 30, said that all these questions would be considered at the time of hearing of the appeal. The tribunal has directed SEBI to submit its reply within four weeks.
In her deposition to SEBI wholetime director Anant Barua, Ramkrishna had revealed that she sought guidance from a spiritual baba, Rigyajursama, from the Himalayas that enabled her to run NSE in a better manner. She alleged misused her power to appoint Anand Subramanian on a hefty salary in contravention to the rules.
Subramanian, who was arrested in February, had been on the agency radar in the 2015 NSE co-location scam case in which some of the traders were allegedly provided preferential access to trade data.