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The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a fresh case against former National Stock Exchange (NSE) chiefs Chitra Ramkrishna, Ravi Narain and ex-Mumbai police commissioner Sanjay Pandey, on the directions of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), for allegedly tapping phones of NSE employees between 2009 and 2017.

This is a fresh case against Ramkrishna, Narain and Pandey who are already being probed in the NSE colocation case. 

Ramkrishna has been arrested by the CBI and is currently in judicial custody. While Narain has been quizzed, Pandey is yet to be summoned by the agency in the said matter.

The NSE co-location scam is being probed by the CBI and the ED since 2018. When Chitra Ramkrishna was chief executive officer of the bourse between 2010 and 2015, several stockbroking companies had preferential access to the server through which they got the data split-second faster, getting “an unfair advantage", it has been alleged.

Ramkrishna was appointed as joint managing director of the NSE in 2009 and continued till March 2013, according to CBI. Thereafter, she took over as managing director and CEO on April 1, 2013, and remained till 2016. It was during this period that the co-location swindle allegedly took place.

As per sources, searches are underway at multiple locations across the country including in Mumbai and Delhi in the phone tapping case.

According to the complaint given by MHA, Isec Services, a firm floated by Pandey was allegedly asked to conduct illegal surveillance of NSE employees by the former NSE chiefs. The period also co-incidence with the co-location scam, which the central agency is probing separately, revealed sources.

Pandey had incorporated iSec Securities in March 2001 and quit as its director in May 2006. His son and mother then took over charge of the company. Investigators want to understand the mandate, operations and results achieved by the company while it worked with the NSE, said officials.

Earlier this week, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) questioned Pandey for over five hours in a money-laundering case linked to the alleged co-location scam at the National Stock Exchange.

Pandey, a 1986-batch IPS officer who retired on June 30, was asked to join the probe on July 5 at the agency’s Delhi office.

The CBI had during its ongoing investigation into the NSE co-lo scam found certain alleged acts of omission and commission on the part of Isec Services Pvt Ltd, a firm linked to Pandey’s family members which NSE had hired to carry out an audit between 2010 and 2015, said sources.

The bourse extended the alleged co-location facility during the same period when certain brokers allegedly received preferential access to its servers and made windfall gains. The ED is probing the money-laundering angle in the co-location case.

Pandey had earlier been summoned by the CBI as a witness in a corruption case against former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh.

About a dozen brokers are under the CBI scanner for misusing the co-location facility, Livemint's sister publication the Hindustan Times reported on May 22. The sleuths are also investigating role of several officials of NSe and market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India, who have given unfair advantage to the brokers.

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