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CBI questions former NSE CEO Chitra Ramkrishna

CBI questions former NSE CEO Chitra Ramkrishna
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New Delhi: The CBI on Friday questioned former CEO of National Stock Exchange Chitra Ramkrishna in the view of fresh facts emerging in connection with its ongoing probe into alleged abuse of co-location facility in the NSE, officials said.

The CBI has also issued look out circulars against Ramkrishna, another former CEO Ravi Narain and former Group Operating Officer Anand Subramanian to prevent them from leaving the country.

The central probe agency had booked owner and promoter of Delhi-based OPG Securities Pvt. Ltd. Sanjay Gupta and others in connection with alleged abuse of NSE co-location facility to make gains by getting early access to the stock market, they said.

The agency was also probing unidentified officials of Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and National Stock Exchange (NSE), Mumbai and other unidentified persons.

"It was alleged that the owner and promoter of said private company abused the server architecture of NSE in conspiracy with unknown officials of NSE. It was also alleged that unknown officials of NSE, Mumbai had provided unfair access to the said company using the co-location facility during the period 2010-2012 that enabled it to login first to the exchange server of Stock Exchange that helped to get the data before any other broker in the market," the CBI has alleged in the FIR.

In the high-frequency algorithmic trading in the NSE, an edge of a few seconds to a stock broker in a trade can make a huge difference, the officials said.

It has emerged that Gupta was the first to log in in 90 per cent of cases which prompted murmurs in the stock broker circuit, and resulted in a load balancer being introduced by the NSE, the officials said.

Gupta once again managed the data centre staff of NSE to get connected to the backup servers which were with zero load and provided far better and faster access of market feed to OPG Securities in comparison to other brokers, the CBI has alleged.

The probe agency has alleged that he had managed to manipulate SEBI inquiry against the role of OPG Securities in the misuse of TBT (tick-by-tick) architecture of servers by paying bribe to the officials of the stock market regulator.

Ramkrishna was MD and CEO of NSE from April 2013 to December 2016, Narain was the MD and CEO of the exchange from April 1994 till March 2013. Thereafter, he was appointed as vice-chairman in the non-executive category on the NSE's board from April 2013 and remained so till June 2017.

Ramkrishna hit the headlines after a SEBI order on February 11 said that she was steered by a yogi, dwelling in the Himalayan ranges, in the appointment of Anand Subramanian as the exchange's group operating officer and advisor to the managing director (MD).

The Securities and Exchange Board of India charged Ramkrishna and others with alleged governance lapses in the appointment of Subramanian as the chief strategic advisor and his re-designation as group operating officer and advisor to MD.

SEBI levied a fine of Rs 3 crore on Ramkrishna, Rs 2 crore each on the National Stock Exchange (NSE), Subramanian, former NSE MD and CEO Ravi Narain, and Rs 6 lakh on V R Narasimhan, who was the chief regulatory officer and compliance officer.


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