The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a fresh case against four officials of the National Stock Exchange (NSE), including former MDs Ravi Narain and Chitra Ramkrishna, on charges of hiring former Mumbai police chief Sanjay Pandey’s private company to illegally tap phones of exchange employees from 2009 to 2017.

The NSE engaged Pandey’s company M/s iSEC Services Pvt. Ltd “in the guise of conducting periodic study of cyber vulnerabilities” at the exchange. But, “it was further alleged that top NSE officials issued agreement/work orders in favour of the said private company and illegally intercepted phone calls of its employees,” said CBI officials.

The CBI has accused the firm of handing over transcripts of intercepted calls regularly to senior NSE officials, for which it was paid around ₹4.45 crore.

The agency also carried out searches at 18 locations linked to the accused in Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Gurugram, Ghaziabad, Lucknow, Chandigarh and Kota, on Friday.

Overall, there are 11 accused in the case, including NSE’s former Executive Vice-President Ravi Varanasi, former Head (Premises) Mahesh Haldipurall, iSEC Services, its four former and present directors — Santosh Pandey (the IPS officer’s mother), Armaan Pandey (his son), Anand Narayan and Manish Mittal — and former Senior Information Security Analyst Naman Chaturvedi. The CBI said Arun Kumar Singh’s name also figures in the case.

Pandey was the director of iSec Services Pvt Ltd which he floated after he had resigned from the police service in April of 2000, said CBI sources. Later, he quit the post and, instead, installed his mother and son as directors of his private company. He rejoined the service in 2011 since the government did not accept his resignation.

The conspiracy to illegally eaves drop on phones was hatched during 2009-2017 by Ravi Narain, Chitra Ramakrishna, Ravi Varanasi and Mahesh Haldipurall of NSE and iSEC Services Pvt. Ltd top brass, revealed the CBI.

The iSEC did not seek any permission for the activity from the competent authority as provided U/s 5 of the Indian Telegraph Act. The employees of NSE were also not aware that their phones are being tapped, pointed out CBI officials.

Bail pleas

The Delhi High Court heard bail applications of Ramkrishna and former NSE GOO Anand Subramanian on Friday. The lawyers of both the accused argued for bails of their clients languishing in jail since February while the CBI’s rebuttal to their contention will take place on July 21, said a lawyer appearing in the case. The CBI has so far, took a plea in the courts that they should not be allowed to come out of judicial custody owing to suspicion that the duo will influence witnesses and also that the economic offence case is at crucial stage of investigation.