The Delhi High Court on Thursday granted bail to former National Stock Exchange (NSE) chief executive Chitra Ramkrishna in a money laundering case related to alleged illegal phone tapping of NSE employees.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had in July 2022 arrested Ramkrishna for illegally tapping telephones of NSE employees between 2009 and 2017.

"The application is allowed. The applicant is granted bail," said Justice Jasmeet Singh.

Senior advocate Rebecca John had appeared for Ramkrishna in the matter and stated the allegations against the applicant do not fall within the framework of the scheduled offences, and hence, the rigors of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) will not be applicable, reported Bar & Bench.

The former NSE MD & CEO was also arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the alleged NSE co-location scam. She was granted bail in the CBI case by the Delhi High Court in September last year.

Apart from Ramkrishna, the ED had also registered a case under criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against ex-Mumbai police commissioner Sanjay Pandey and Ravi Narain, former MD and CEO of NSE.

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 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 and work orders in favour of the said private company and illegally intercepted the phone calls of its employees by installing machines, in contravention of provisions under the Indian Telegraph Act.

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 (approximately) was allegedly paid to said private company for this activity," the CBI had said.

Ramkrishna was first arrested by the CBI in March 2022 for her alleged role in the NSE co-location scam. The case was registered in May 2018 for alleged abuse of the exchange's server architecture in 2015 in which some traders were provided preferential access to trade data.

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