The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a case against former National Stock Exchange (NSE) chief executive Chitra Ramkrishna and former Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Pandey for alleged illegal interception of telephones of NSE employees between 2009 and 2017.
Apart from Ramkrishna and Pandey, the probe agency has also named another former NSE CEO and MD Ravi Narain in the case.
This comes after the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) lodged a complaint regarding the matter.
On Friday, the investigating agency conducted searches at 18 premises of the accused including at Mumbai, Pune, Kota, Lucknow and Delhi-NCR, among others.
The case was also filed against a private company based in New Delhi, its then directors and other officials.
"It was alleged that during 2009 to 2017 then MD, then DMD, then Executive Vice President and then Head (Premises) of NSE and said private company conspired to illegally intercept the telephones of NSE employees," the Central Bureau of Investigation says in a statement.
"In furtherance to this conspiracy, the said private company was allegedly engaged in the guise of conducting 'Periodic Study of Cyber Vulnerabilities' at NSE. It was further alleged that top officials of NSE issued Agreement / Work Orders in favour of said private company and illegally intercepted the phone calls of its employees by installing machine/s, in contravention of provisions under Indian Telegraph Act," it says.
No permission for this activity was taken from the competent authority under the Indian Telegraph Act, according to the CBI. "No consent of the employees of NSE was also taken in this matter. It was also alleged that the transcripts of these calls were provided by said private company and received by the senior officials of NSE. An amount of ₹4.45 crore (approx.) was allegedly paid to said private company for this activity," it adds.
The CBI FIR comes days after market regulator SEBI imposed monetary penalties on the National Stock Exchange (NSE), its former managing director and chief executive Chitra Ramkrishna and her key aide Anand Subramanian.
The market regulator, in its 186-page order, found Ramkrishna, Subramanian and India's largest stock exchange guilty of collusion in the 2015 dark-fibre case. While NSE has been fined ₹7 crore, its former MD & CEO Chitra Ramkrishna, former group chief operating officer Anand Subramanian and current chief business development officer Ravi Varanasi have been asked to pay ₹5 crore each. SEBI imposed a cumulative penalty of ₹43.8 crore on the 18 entities.