The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday arrested National Stock Exchange’s (NSE) former chief executive officer (CEO) Ravi Narain in a money laundering case related to alleged illegal phone tapping and snooping of NSE employees.
Narain was the MD and CEO of NSE from April 1994 to March 31, 2013. Thereafter, he was appointed vice-chairman, in a non-executive category on the company’s board from April 1, 2013, to June 1, 2017.
Former chief executive officer of the NSE Chitra Ramkrishna was arrested by the CBI on March 6 in the case registered in May 2018 related to the co-location scam. The ED arrested her on July 14 in the phone tapping case.
People familiar with the matter said the ED had sent a report to the Union home ministry regarding illegal phone tapping before it was referred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which registered a criminal conspiracy case against former Mumbai police commissioner Sanjay Pandey, Ramkrishna and Narain in June. Based on CBI’s FIR, the ED invoked charges under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against them.
Investigators said Ramkrishna and Narain allegedly hired Pandey’s family firm iSEC Services Pvt Ltd for illegally tapping landlines of NSE employees using devices called red servers. “Almost everyone’s landline at NSE building in Mumbai was tapped except of brass of the NSE from a space provided to iSEC in the bourse building’s basement. We have information that the surveillance went on for over five years continuously… So, we are investigating role of iSEC during the entire period,” said an officer, who did not want to be named.
HT had earlier reported that each of the devices – iSEC installed four red servers at the NSE office – had the capacity to tap 120 calls at a time.
ED investigators said the accused destroyed several transcripts particularly after investigations began into the NSE co-location scam in 2018.