Leading stock exchange NSE’s board has given its approval to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to prosecute its former MD and CEO Chitra Ramkrishna in the co-location scam case, sources said on Monday.
The CBI was awaiting the go-ahead of the board of the National Stock Exchange of India (NSE) to prosecute Ramkrishna following her arrest last March. She was arrested in the co-location scam nearly four years after an FIR was registered by the agency in May 2018.
The CBI is probing the alleged improper dissemination of information from the computer servers of the market exchanges to the stock brokers. NSE’s co-location facility allows stock brokers to take on rent-specific racks and co-locate their servers and systems within the exchange premises.
In its board meeting on February 7, the board of NSE accorded approval to CBI to prosecute top officials including Ramkrishna in the co-location scam, wherein some brokers allegedly got preferential access in high-frequency trading, sources said.
Also, the board approved the exchange’s financial earnings for the December quarter in its meeting.
Ramkrishna was granted bail in the CBI case by the Delhi High Court in September. Last week, the Delhi High Court also granted bail to Ramkrishna in a money laundering case related to alleged illegal phone tapping and snooping on NSE employees, registered against her by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
The former NSE managing director, who was earlier arrested by the CBI in the co-location scam, was arrested in the money laundering case by the Enforcement Directorate last July 14.
In April 2019, the capital markets regulator Sebi had prohibited Ramkrishna and Ravi Narain, who had also served as MD and CEO of NSE, from associating with a listed company or a market infrastructure institution or any other market intermediary for a period of five years in the co-location case. They were also directed to disgorge 25% of respective salaries drawn during a certain period.
The market regulator’s order against Ramkrishna and Narain was set aside by the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) in February this year.
Ramkrishna was appointed as Joint MD of NSE in 2009 and remained in the position till March 31, 2013. She was elevated as MD and CEO on April 1, 2013. Her tenure at NSE ended in December 2016.