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New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed a money laundering complaint against ex-Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Pandey and former National Stock Exchange (NSE) top bosses Chitra Ramkrishna and Ravi Narain in connection with the alleged illegal phone tapping case of the stock exchange employees, officials said Thursday, July 14.
It also placed Ramkrishna, till now in judicial custody in the National Stock Exchange (NSE) colocation case linked to alleged manipulation of the bourse, under arrest. A Delhi court later granted the anti-money laundering probe agency her custody for four days.
Pandey is understood to have been summoned by the ED to appear before the agency on Friday in Delhi for questioning in the phone tapping case, the officials said.
The federal probe agency filed the fresh case under criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), a week after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) booked them.
The CBI had alleged that Narain and Ramkrishna, both former chief executives of NSE, 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 now the ED, have named Pandey, his Delhi-based company iSEC Services Pvt. Ltd, 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 June 30. 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 July 5 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, the 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 Rs 4.45 crore for illegal tapping which was camouflaged as “Periodic Study of Cyber Vulnerabilities” at the NSE, the CBI alleged.
Also read: CBI Probes Suspected Phone Tapping of Stock Exchange Employees
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.
They had said four MTNL lines used by NSE employees having capacity for 120 calls at a time were under the scanner.
The CBI alleged that no permission for this activity was obtained from the competent authority as provided for under section five of the Indian Telegraph Act.
“No consent of the employees of NSE was also taken in this matter,” it said.
The CBI has also listed as accused the then directors of iSEC Services Pvt Ltd Santosh Pandey, Anand Narayan, Armaan Pandey, Manish Mittal, former Senior Information Security Analyst Naman Chaturvedi and Arun Kumar Singh.
The company had done the safety audit around the time the colocation scam was alleged to have taken place.