The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has named National Stock Exchange’s former managing director and chief executive officer Chitra Ramkrishna and ex-group operating officer Anand Subramanian, along with some brokerage firms, as “accused” in the co-location case.
The central agency on Thursday filed its first prosecution complaint, popularly known as a large sheet, at the special CBI court in Delhi, according to people in the know.
The court would take cognizance of the complaint after reviewing the voluminous documents of evidence submitted by the agency.
Both Ramkrishna, who quit as MD and CEO in 2016, and Subramanian were on the probe agency’s radar, amid revelations of irregularities at the country’s largest stock exchange NSE. Both were in judicial custody following their arrest on March 6 and February 25, respectively.
The market regulator observed that the NSE and its top executives violated securities contract norms relating to the appointment of Anand Subramaniam as group operating officer and advisor to the managing director
Ramkrishna had told the regulator that a formless mysterious “Yogi” was guiding her over emails in taking the decisions.
The CBI expanded its probe into the co-location scam after the SEBI report surfaced. They arrested both of them and told the court that formless Yogi is none other than Subramanian who was the alleged beneficiary of her decisions.
Subramanian’s controversial appointment and subsequent elevation, besides crucial decisions, were guided by an unidentified person who Ramkrishna claimed were a formless mysterious yogi dwelling in the Himalayas, a probe into her email exchanges during the Sebi-ordered audit had shown.
In her statement to Sebi, Ramkrishna had said that the unknown person having email id firstname.lastname@example.org was a ‘Sidha-Purusha or ‘Paramhansa’ who did not have a physical persona and could materialize at will.
Ramkrishna got elevated as MD and CEO on April 1, 2013, and left the bourse in 2016.
It was during this period that co-location was started by NSE, the CBI has alleged in the charge sheet.
In the co-location facility offered by NSE, brokers could place their servers within the stock exchange premises giving them faster access to the markets. It is alleged that some brokers in connivance with insiders abused the algorithm and the co-location facility to make windfall profits.
On 11 February 2022, Chitra Ramakrishna was fined Rs 3 crore by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for allegedly violating rules in the appointment of Subramanian.
The case was registered by the CBI in 2018, but action against Ramkrishna and Subramanian followed a report of SEBI that indicted Ramkrishna for illegal appointment of Subramanian and for allegedly sharing confidential information related to the bourse with a “mysterious Himalayan yogi”.