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NSE Co-Location Scam: CBI Opposes Bail Plea By Former GOO, Delhi Court Reserves Order

NSE Co-Location Scam: CBI Opposes Bail Plea By Former GOO, Delhi Court Reserves Order

The judge reserved the verdict on the bail plea after hearing counsel for the agency as well as Subramanian, who is presently in judicial custody, and listed the order for pronouncement on March 24

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The CBI on Friday opposed before a Delhi Court the bail application by Anand Subramanian in National Stock Exchange (NSE) co-location scam case, saying that the former group operating officer (GOO) impersonated as a “Himalayan Yogi” and influenced the decision making of former managing director and chief executive officer Chitra Ramakrishna. 

CBI counsel said that Subramanian remained evasive during interrogation and was a flight risk and should not be granted bail.  

“You are (allegedly) the Himalayan Yogi, living in the high reaches of the Himalayas with divine powers. CBI was lying in hibernation for four years. They woke up now. I don't know why,” Special Judge Sanjeev Aggarwal remarked. 

The judge reserved the verdict on the bail plea after hearing counsel for the agency as well as Subramanian, who is presently in judicial custody, and listed the order for pronouncement on March 24. 

The former GOO was arrested by the CBI on February 24 and was remanded for custodial interrogation. He was sent to 14-day judicial custody on March 9. 

While the court observed the accused did not flee in the last four years, the CBI prosecutor VK Pathak stated that Subramanian thought that nobody would identify him. 

Lawyer Arshdeep Singh, appearing for Subramanian, said that he was “not the Himalayan Yogi”.  

CBI counsel said that there were emails between Subramanian and Ramakrishna sharing sensitive information and that a probe has to be done on the aspect of financial gains to them.

“There are various malpractices apart from the co-location they visited tax haven countries. This aspect has to be looked into,” he said. 

“He was the main advisor to the MD. He was advising each and everything. Chitra Ramakrishna took decisions under influence. There was some financial gain, tours to foreign countries. We are looking into it,” it was further submitted. 

"You take a lot of time. You keep looking,” remarked the judge who also observed that life and liberty can't be restricted based on presumptions and assumptions. 

CBI counsel said that it was in the process of analysing 832 GB data and the probe has been extended to several brokers and that the accused has been uncooperative and evasive.

Subramanian's lawyer sought his release on bail on the ground that he was not named in the FIR, he had no role in the NSE co-location facility while specifically denying the allegation that he was the "Himalayan Yogi" who allegedly influenced Chitra Ramakrishna's decision making. 

The lawyer said that Subramanian joined NSE only in April 2013 and the period of offence was 2010 to 2014. 

He also argued that although the investigation can go beyond the FIR, there has not been reasonable nexus between the subject matter of the FIR and events being brought under its ambit and therefore the issue of his appointment cannot be a matter of the present investigation. 

Singh further informed that SEBI has already exonerated him in the proceedings concerning the co-location facility. 

The court observed that Subramanian received an "unthinkable" hike in his remuneration when he joined the NSE and asked what was so special. 

"Rs 2.5 crore from Rs 15 lakh per annum. A huge jump in the salary. What was so special," the judge remarked. 

Singh said that the accused would cooperate with the investigation and was not a flight risk. 

On March 9, the court had pulled up the CBI for the tardy investigation in the case, saying that the magnitude of the case will be big and the reputation of the country was at stake. 

FIR in the NSE co-location scam was registered in 2018 for the alleged commission of offences under sections 204 (destruction of document or electronic evidence) and 120B (conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code as well as the violation of the provisions of the Information Technology Act and Prevention of Corruption Act.    

In the co-location facility offered by the NSE, brokers could place their servers within the stock exchange premises giving them faster access to the markets.

It is alleged by the investigating agency that some brokers in connivance with insiders abused the algorithm and the co-location facility to make windfall profits.

Last week, CBI had sought Chitra Ramakrishna's custodial interrogation to unearth the criminal conspiracy and the role of other NSE officials and brokers in the company. 

It had submitted that the material already collected in the case shows that Ramkrishna in conspiracy with Subramanian had improperly hired him by coercing the HR department of NSE.

Thereafter, she, in conspiracy with Subramanian, influenced the officials of NSE to facilitate him in having access to important decision-making processes of the NSE. During the same period, M/s OPG Securities was gaining undue advantages in NSE by logging into the secondary server, it had said.

The CBI had further alleged that Ramkrishna, with Subramanian, abused her official position as the MD of NSE and got him appointed as her Chief Strategic Advisor/ Consultant by creating this post of Chief Strategic Advisor to accommodate and appoint him bypassing the prescribed due procedures at NSE.
 

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