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The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday arrested former NSE top boss Chitra Ramkrishna in the money laundering case relating to the illegal phone tapping and snooping of employees of the stock exchange.

Special Judge Sunaina Sharma allowed four-day custodial interrogation of Ramkrishna

The former NSE MD was produced in the court from jail on an order passed by the judge earlier.

The judge had issued a production warrant against the accused on a plea moved by the ED. After the accused was produced, the ED took permission from the court to interrogate her.

Later, the ED arrested Ramkrishna on the ground of non-cooperation and again produced her before the court and urged for her nine-day custodial interrogation.

The court, however, granted her four-day custody to the agency.

The ED had filed the case under criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against ex-Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Pandey, Ramkrishna and Ravi Narain. 

This comes a week after the CBI booked them.

The Central Bureau of Investigation had alleged that Narain and Ramkrishna, both former chief executives of the National Stock Exchange, had roped in a company founded by retired IPS officer Pandey to snoop on the stock market employees by illegally intercepting their phones calls.

The CBI and ED have named Pandey, his Delhi-based company, NSE's former MD and CEOs Narain and Ramkrishna, executive vice president Ravi Varanasi and head (premises) Mahesh Haldipur, among others, in their respective complaints.

The ED will probe if any proceeds of crime were generated through this alleged illegal act and the accused laundered public funds.

Pandey, a 1986-batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, retired from service on 30 June. Before his four-month stint as Mumbai's commissioner of police, he served as acting Maharashtra director general of police (DGP).

He was questioned by the ED on 5 July in the alleged NSE colocation scam case in Delhi.

The ED discovered secret phone surveillance while probing the alleged financial irregularities at the NSE following which it reported it to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), which asked the CBI to probe the charges, officials said.

The CBI had alleged in its complaint that during the period 2009-17, Narain, Ramkrishna, Varanasi and Haldipur conspired to illegally intercept the telephones of NSE employees for which they hired iSEC Services Pvt Ltd, founded by Pandey in 2001.

Pandey had incorporated the company after resigning from service but his resignation was not accepted.

The company allegedly received a payment of 4.45 crore for illegal tapping which was camouflaged as "Periodic Study of Cyber Vulnerabilities" at the NSE, the CBI alleged.

The company also provided transcripts of the tapped conversations to senior management of the stock market, it had claimed.

"...top officials of NSE issued agreement and work orders in favour of said private company and illegally intercepted the phone calls of its employees by installing machines, in contravention of provisions under Indian Telegraph Act," a statement from the CBI said.

Officials said the interception was stopped in 2019, months after the CBI started probing the NSE colocation scam in 2018, and the machines and other infrastructure used for interception were disposed of as e-waste by the bourse.

The alleged fraud relates to manipulation of the stock market through electronic contrivances.

The CBI also conducted raids last week in the phone tapping case and claimed to have recovered original transcripts, raid server, voice samples, two laptops containing evidence related to interception, bills generated for services rendered by iSEC, among others, from the company premises.

With inputs from agencies. 

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