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NSE Co-lo scam: CBI gets 7-day custody of Sanjay Gupta of OPG Securities

Dalip Singh | | Updated on: Jun 22, 2022

| Photo Credit: FRANCIS MASCARENHAS

Interrogation of Gupta, who figured in the CBI FIR registered in May 2018, to spill beans on the SEBI officials who connived in the co-location scam

Four years after naming him in the FIR, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested Sanjay Gupta, the owner of Delhi-based OPG Securities Pvt Ltd, on Tuesday, for allegedly tampering with server architecture of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) for undue gains.

Gupta, said CBI sources, was called for questioning on Tuesday, and was arrested late in the night since he was found to be evasive to queries on his alleged role in the scam. On Wednesday, he was remanded to seven days of judicial custody by a special CBI court in the national capital.

The CBI had earlier carried out searches at OPG Securities Security Pvt Ltd, and nine others broker firms, following the allegations of rigging of the NSE co-location facility, in connivance with the NSE’s former CEO and MD, Chitra Ramkrishna, and her deputy, Anand Subramanian. Both Ramkrishna and Subramanian are already behind bars.

From 2010 to 2014, Gupta, along with his brother-in-law, Aman Kokrady, and NSE officials, had compromised tick-by-tick (TBT) server of the NSE, according to CBI sources. This allowed OPG Securities to login first to the server and get the data faster than others, leading to the unfair advantage, added CBI sources. Gupta is accused of fraudulently managing NSE’s data centre, which led to wrongful loss to other brokers and investors.

According to agency sources, Gupta’s interrogation is likely to throw up skeletons in the SEBI, since he had allegedly bribed paid bribes to some officials of the regulator to influence inquiry against his company, OPG Securities, for covering up gains misusing NSE’s TBT architecture of the NSE.

Murlidharan Natarajan, the CTO of NSETECH, a subsidiary of NSE, was responsible for putting in place the co-location architecture.

Destruction of evidence

The CBI has also learnt that Gupta destroyed electronic evidence by directing his employees to delete some important mails, test messages and logs, among others, pertaining to co-location controversy.

OPG Securities has been illegally trading in Dubai, Ghana, Singapore, Hong Kong and China. Gupta and Kakrady have raised funds from abroad and controls many entities in Dubai which are under the CBI probe of the CBI and other investigating agencies like ED and Income Tax.

During Ramkrishna's tenure, OPG had connected to the secondary POP server on 670 trading days in the futures and options segment. The CBI is expected to grill on these allegations to find out about preferential access granted to certain brokers by the NSE officials during Ramkrishna and Subramanian's stints forming which will form part of the second chargesheet due in the NSE co-location scam.

In the first, the CBI hads focussed on Ramkrishna’s act of illegally and aribitrarily appointing Subramanian as the NSE’s Chief Strategic Advisor to the NSE in January of 2013 on a high salary. He was later re-designated, which CBI has said was also against the NSE norms.

Published on June 22, 2022
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