Frustrated with slow pace of CBI probe into colo scam: Special Court

Our Bureau | | Updated on: Mar 09, 2022
Chitra Ramkrishna

Chitra Ramkrishna | Photo Credit: KAMAL NARANG

Worries it will impact investment climate; sends Anand Subramanian to judicial remand till March 23

A special CBI Court on Wednesday expressed concern about whether “events such as NSE co-location” pose a risk to the overall investment environment in the country and asked the CBI to wrap up their investigations expeditiously. Special Judge Sanjeev Aggarwal made these observations while he sent former group operating officer (GOO) of the NSE, Anand Subramanian to 14-day judicial custody.

“What is the magnitude of this case? ₹1,000 crore? I don’t know. The volume will be big. It is not a small scam. The reputation of the country is at stake. People invest their money in India. They think the NSE is fair. If they come to know that something fishy is going on, who will invest money? You are taking this investigation very lightly,” Aggarwal said while hearing the remand application.

Subramanian was arrested last week, while his boss and former Managing Director and Chief Executive officer (MD & CEO) Chitra Ramkrishna was arrested this week. She is in CBI custody while Subramanian’s remand was coming to end. Both are accused on co-location case which was registered in 2018. On February 11, SEBI came out with order against Ramkrishna and Subramanian and slapped penalty too.

Expressing frustration over slow pace of investigation, the Judge said, “Will this go on for years? The CBI investigation is open ended, and goes on for years. All our credibility will go. They (investors) will all go to China.” He asked if the CBI had taken Subramanian to different locations as part of the investigation when he was under its custody. The agency submitted that the accused was at the CBI office all this while and he was also confronted with Ramkrishna but ‘nothing fruitful’ came out of those interactions.

The court then remarked, “You did not take him to the scene of crime. You are sitting here in the CBI office, you can relax. What about the role of the SEBI? It is a capital market watchdog. Does it only growl or can it bite also?”

Aggarwal also questioned the role of the resident auditors of the NSE, and said, “One year they can miss. How could they miss for 5-6 years? It is not possible that the brokers who were disadvantaged were not bringing forward their complaints.”

The judge observed that Ramkrishna had come to the CBI office and “was served coffee and later arrested”. “Is there a divine power at play here. Something supernatural?” he asked.

The court also said the previous MD was questioned and let off and it asked the CBI if it interrogated the I-T heads too, adding that the scam “would not happen without them”. The judge pulled up the CBI for not mentioning in its application that Ramkrishna and Subramanian were confronted with each other.

The agency told the court that a 30-member team was constituted to investigate the matter.

Published on March 09, 2022
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