A Delhi Court on Monday dismissed the bail application of former managing director and chief executive officer of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) Chitra Ramkrishna in a money laundering case related to the alleged illegal phone tapping and snooping of NSE employees. Special Judge Sunena Sharma denied the relief, saying the stage was not set to allow the bail.
During the hearing, the ED had opposed the bail plea, saying the investigation was ongoing in the matter and she was “directly or indirectly” indulging in the crime. The ED’s Special Public Prosecutor N K Matta had told the court that from 2009 to 2017, former NSE CEO Ravi Narain, Ramkrishna, Executive Vice President Ravi Varanasi and Head (Premises) Mahesh Haldipur and others conspired to cheat NSE and its employees and for the said purpose iSEC Services Pvt Ltd was engaged for illegal interception of phone calls of employees of NSE in the guise of Periodic Study of Cyber vulnerabilities of NSE.
“The top officials of NSE issued agreement/work orders in the guise of Periodic Study of Cyber Vulnerabilities of NSE in favour of iSEC Services Pvt. Ltd., represented by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Pandey, and illegally intercepted the phone calls of its employees by installing an illegal machine without seeking requisite permission from the competent authority as mandated under the law,” the ED said.
Further, no consent of the employees of NSE was taken in this matter, it added.“Transcripts of these calls were provided by iSEC and received by the officials of NSE at top level in breach of confidentiality and privacy of employees of NSE and thereby, caused wrongful gain of Rs 4.54 crore to iSEC as payment for this task and corresponding wrongful loss to NSE,” the agency said.
The court had recently refused bail to former Mumbai Police Commissioner Pandey in the case.The ED further averred that the amount of Rs 4.54 crore represented the proceeds of crime in this case which were acquired by iSEC Services Pvt. Ltd. from NSE of India and which were projected as fees for non existent ‘Periodic Study of Cyber Vulnerabilities of NSE.
The investigating officer submitted that the Enforcement Directorate had recorded statements of various persons including Ramkrishna and had collected various documents including the “Monitoring Reports for Call Logs”, approval notes of NSE bearing approval granted by Ramkrishna for the study which prove the allegations contained in the CBI FIR, based on which the ED filed the current case.
It further submitted that Ramkrishna was in possession of material evidence and information relating to the offence of money laundering, which was subject matter of investigation in the instant case and custodial interrogation of Ramkrishna is necessary to establish money trail of proceeds of crime and to gather crucial evidence.