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CBI charge sheets ex-Mumbai police commissioner, NSE ex-CEO in phone tapping case

New Delhi: The CBI has filed a charge sheet against former Mumbai police commissioner Sanjay Pandey and former NSE CEO Chitra Ramkrishna and other top executives of the bourse in connection with alleged tapping of phones of executives of the stock market, officials said Friday.

The agency, in its charge sheet filed before a special court here, has alleged that National Stock Exchange (NSE) had paid Rs 4.54 crore (approx) in 8 years to ISEC Services Pvt Ltd, where Pandey was a director, for carrying out illegal interception of phones at the bourse employees in the name of cyber vulnerability study, they said.

“It was alleged that unauthorised recording and monitoring of personal call lines in NSE started in 1997 when then MD (Ravi Narain) and then DMD/MD (Ramkrishna) of NSE connected call lines of NSE employees to a digital voice recorder provided by a private company,” CBI spokesperson said here.

The agency has named Pandey, two former executives of the accused company, former top executives of NSE including managing director Ravi Narain, deputy managing director Ramkrishna, executive vice president Ravi Varanasi, head (premises) Mahesh Haldipur, group operating officer Anand Subramanian, officer on special duty SB Thosar, and manager (premises) Bhupesh Mistry.

The agency has accused them under charges of criminal conspiracy, destruction of evidence, criminal breach of trust, provisions of the Indian Telegraph Act and Prevention of Corruption Act, they said.

The CBI had taken up the case on July 7, 2022, based on the inputs received during the probe of the Co-location Scam in NSE that ISEC Services were illegally tapping landline phones of NSE employees, they said.

According to CBI, the illegal interception started in 1997 when Narain and Ramkrishna connected NSE employees’ call lines to a digital voice recorder provided by a private company.

Ramkrishna supervised the illegal activity for nearly 12 years with the help of other accused NSE executives, the agency has alleged.

In 2009, the monitoring of calls was handed over to ISEC, where Pandey was a director.

“To maintain secrecy, the work order was allegedly issued to said private company in the name of ‘conducting a periodic study of cyber vulnerabilities’,” the official said.

The company installed a high-end apparatus in 2012 in NSE’s basement, capable of recording 120 calls simultaneously.

“The employees of said private company were given unauthorised access to NSE premises to listen to these calls and submit weekly reports to NSE officials-then executive vice president and then head (premises),” the spokesperson said.

The reports, in turn, were being shown to Narain and Ramkrishna regularly, they said, adding that the contract of ISEC was getting renewed annually during 2009-17.

“It was found during the investigation that an accused (Pandey) working as a Police officer was allegedly managing the affairs of said company. The NSE ended up paying Rs 4.54 crore (approx.) in 8 years to said private company for carrying out such illegal interception of NSE employees in the name of cyber vulnerability study,” he said.

The call records of hundreds of NSE employees were allegedly kept in the custody of said private company, and the entire interception was done without the knowledge or consent of the NSE board. NSE employees, the CBI has alleged.

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