Special Judge continues to rap CBI over laxity in NSE Colo probe till date

NEW DELHI: Special Judge Sanjeev Aggarwal who is a designated Special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) judge has again pulled up the central investigating agency for the slow pace of the investigation in the NSE Co-Location case since 2018.

The judge made his observations while hearing the bail plea of Anand Subramanian, former Group Operating Officer and advisor to former MD of National Stock Exchange (NSE) Chitra Ramkrishna. 

Opposing the bail to Subramanian the CBI prosecutor V K Pathak said that he should not be let off as they fear that he was a flight risk which means a person could likely leave the country before a trial and may not be traceable later. 

The CBI also contented that Subramanian was the 'Yogi' as alleged by Chitra Ramkrishna living in the Himalayas and she shared very sensitive data of NSE with him by email and he had thought that he would not be identified. 

When Subramanian’s counsel, Arshdeep said that his client was innocent and market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) probe had not found him guilty for the same charges, the judge noted, "You are the Himalayan Yogi with divine powers, living in the Himalayas. Meanwhile, CBI was in hibernation for four years. They suddenly woke up now. I don’t know why."

Subramanian’s counsel denied the allegations that his client was the Yogi as alleged by CBI and further submitted that the scam took place between 2010 and 2014 and the accused joined in 2013. 

The NSE Colo scam had first become public in January 2015, when a whistleblower blew the lid off how NSE was giving preferential treatment to some traders by helping them connect to its servers ahead of others thereby getting undue and illegal access. 

The SEBI took its own time to probe and a year later the regulator served show-cause notices to 14 officials, including Narain, Chitra Ramakrishna, ex-Group Operating Officer Anand Subramanian and a dozen other senior officials who worked during that time.

The CBI however registered an FIR in May 2018 against Sanjay Gupta, promoter of Delhi-based brokerage firm OPG Security, his brother-in-law Aman Kokrady and Ajay Narottam Shah and since then it has done very little to book the culprits. 

In 2019 a public interest litigation (PIL) was filed by Shantanu Guha Roy in Delhi High Court on the slow pace of investigation and CBI had then said that it was investigating the wider angle and wider conspiration involving the Rs 50,000 crore NSE co-location scam and assured the Court that it would not hesitate to examine all the people and aspects.

However, CBI dragged on till February 2022 when the SEBI probe report was made public after which the agency moved swiftly, first arresting Subramaium and then Chitra Ramakrishna who is in their custody till March 14.


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