The Supreme Court on Monday refused to interfere with a Delhi High Court order granting bail to Chitra Ramkrishna, a former managing director of the National Stock Exchange, in the co-location scam case being probed by the CBI.
Rejecting an appeal by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) challenging the high court’s September 28 last year order, a bench of justices Ajay Rastogi and Bela M Trivedi clarified that the observations made in the high court’s order will be construed only for grant of default bail and not affect the merits of the trial.
“We find no reasons to interfere with the bail order,” the apex court said and added that all questions of law are left open.
It also refused to interfere with the high court’s order granting bail to the exchange’s former group operating officer (GOO), Anand Subramanian, who was arrested in the case on February 24 last year.
The CBI had arrested Ramkrishna on March 6 last year, a day after her anticipatory bail application was dismissed by a trial court. She was granted bail by the high court in the co-location case on September 28 last year.
On February 9, the high court also granted her bail in a money laundering case lodged by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) related to alleged illegal phone tapping and snooping of National Stock Exchange (NSE) employees.
She was arrested in the ED case on July 14 last year. During the hearing in the apex court, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain, representing the CBI, contended that the high court’s order was “absolutely misconceived”.
He said the law on default bail is very clear and it can be granted if the charge sheet is not filed within 60 days of arresting.
However, in this case, Ramkrishna was in custody for 46 days and Subramanian was in custody for 57 days, he said.
The high court had in September last year, granted “statutory bail” to the former NSE boss.
An FIR was registered in the case in May 2018, amid revelations about irregularities at the country’s largest stock exchange. The CBI is probing alleged improper dissemination of information from NSE computer servers to stock brokers.
According to the ED, from 2009 to 2017, former NSE chief executive officer (CEO) Ravi Narain, Ramkrishna, executive vice-president Ravi Varanasi, and head (premises) Mahesh Haldipur and others allegedly conspired to cheat NSE and its employees.
For the purpose, iSEC Services Pvt Ltd was engaged for illegal interception of phone calls of NSE employees in the guise of doing periodic study of cyber vulnerabilities of the exchange, it said.
Ramkrishna was appointed as joint managing director in 2009 and remained in the position till March 31, 2013. She got elevated as MD and CEO on April 1, 2013, and served till December 2016.
The CBI, in a status report filed in the high court, had claimed that its investigation has established that Ramkrishna allegedly abused her official position at the NSE to illegally appoint Subramanian as chief strategic advisor and also arbitrarily and disproportionately hiked his compensation and re-designated him as GOO without requisite approvals.
The CBI has further claimed that Ramkrishna was communicating with an external email-ID being operated by Subramanian and examination of witnesses was being carried out to unearth the whole conspiracy in the case.
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