The board of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) has given its approval to the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) for the prosecution of Chitra Ramkrishna, and Ravi Narain, the two former bosses of the exchange, and other officials in the co-location scam matter that the agency has been investigating since 2018, sources said.
The approval comes after both Ramkrishna and Narain secured bail from the Delhi court. While Narain had secured bail on medical grounds, in Ramkrishna’s case the court had cited the lack of sanction for prosecution as one of the reasons for granting her bail a few weeks ago. NSE board took nearly 8-10 months to grant its sanction after Ramkrishna’s arrest.
Ramkrishna was arrested by the CBI in March 2022 — nearly four years after an FIR was registered by the agency in the scam. Narain was arrested in September 2022 in the same matter. CBI has achieved limited success in the case so far, legal experts dealing with the matter said.
As of now, CBI has brought only a limited charge of bad governance practice by Ramkrishna for appointing Anand Subramanian to a key position at the NSE without required qualifications or experience. Probe in the co-location scandal witnessed a slowdown, mainly as the sanction for prosecution was awaited by the CBI, the sources said..
The co-location scam relates to misuse of NSE’s high-tech trading infrastructure. Both Ramkrishna and Narain are also being probed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in another phone tapping scandal during their tenure. Usually, the CBI has to seek permission for persecution from the government authorities only in cases involving public servants like bureaucrats or government employees.
The CBI had also sought permission from the board of ICICI Bank for prosecuting its former MD Chanda Kochhar, which was granted by the bank in December 2022. NSE did not respond to an email query but sources close to the exchange confirmed the development on the sanction.