CBI on Sunday arrested Chitra Ramkrishna, former CEO and MD of National Stock Exchange (NSE), in a 2018 case of bourse manipulation. This is the second high-profile arrest in the case, with the agency last month arresting Anand Subramanian, NSE’s former group operating officer and Ramkrishna’s deputy and confidante.
“Ramkrishna has been arrested following questioning and will be produced in a competent court on Monday,” a CBI official said. Ramkrishna had earlier been questioned by the agency last month along with Subramanian and former NSE CEO Ravi Narain.
The CBI action comes in the wake of allegations against Ramkrishna that she was sharing confidential information of the bourse with a “Himalayan Yogi” and had got Subramanian appointed in violation of rules.
On February 11, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) had levied penalties on Ms. Ramkrishna, Mr. Subramanian, and former NSE MD Ravi Narain on account of multiple violations, including irregularities in Mr. Subramanian’s appointment as a Chief Strategic Advisor and his re-designation as the Group Operating Officer and Advisor to the then NSE MD.
Subsequently, the Income-Tax Department had also conducted searches on the premises of Ms. Ramkrishna and Mr. Subramanian in Mumbai and Chennai, while the CBI issued “lookout” circulars against the two and Mr. Narain, following which their statements were recorded by the agency.
CBI arrested Subramanian on February 25 after expanding its probe into a co-location scam in the exchange. It registered in 2018, following “fresh facts” in a report by markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi). The Sebi report referred to a mysterious yogi guiding actions of Ramkrishna. Some brokerages had been allegedly given preferential and unfair access to NSE’s trading system to detriment of others.
The CBI probe has indicated that Subramanian might be the mysterious ‘Yogi’ who was guiding the actions of former CEO Chitra Ramkrishna.
In the co-location case registered by CBI in 2018, the central probe agency booked a Delhi-based stock broker for allegedly making gains by getting early access to the stock market trading system. The agency was also probing unidentified officials of the Sebi and the NSE, Mumbai, and other unknown persons in the case.
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 Ramkrishna’s email exchanges during the Sebi-ordered audit showed.
Sebi has levied a fine of Rs 3 crore on Ramkrishna, Rs 2 crore each on NSE, Subramanian, former NSE MD and CEO Ravi Narain, and Rs 6 lakh on V R Narasimhan, who was the chief regulatory officer and compliance officer.