NSE co-location case: Chitra Ramakrishna also seen getting relief from Tribunal

PALAK SHAH | | Updated on: May 14, 2019

Ravi Narain, ex-MD & CEO, NSE | Photo Credit: Munshi Ahmed

Chitra Ramakrishna may also get the same relief, say lawyers involved in the matter

One by one, all the key figures against whom Securities and Exchange Board of India had passed strictures in the NSE co-location fiasco have managed to get interim stay from the Securities Appellate Tribunal.

On Tuesday, Ravi Narain, former MD and CEO of the NSE, got an interim stay from SAT on the SEBI strictures in the matter, lawyers involved with the case told BusinessLine .

SAT will be hearing NSE’s plea for a stay on the SEBI order asking it to disgorge ₹1,000 crore in the co-location matter in the next few days, sources said.

Narain was asked to deposit 25 per cent of his salary drawn between financial years 2011-2013, when he was NSE’s MD and CEO, for violation of code of conduct norms that led to the co-location issue at the exchange.

Narain was even barred by SEBI from associating with markets or companies in any way for two years. SAT has stayed all the action against Narain till it hears SEBI. After Narain’s stay, it is likely that SAT may also give an interim stay against strictures on Chitra Ramakrishna, who was NSE’s MD and CEO between 2013 and 2017, lawyers involved in the matter said. Charges against Narain and Ramakrishna are nearly similar.

Last week, SAT granted interim stay on SEBI’s proceedings against Ravi Varanasi, head of business development, Nagendra Kumar SRVS, head of membership department, and Deviprasad Singh, head of co-location support at the NSE. SEBI found the three guilty of colluding with stockbrokers Way2Wealth Brokers and GKN Securities, leading to the latter gaining unfair advantage over other brokers in price feed at the NSE.

SEBI had barred the three officials from holding any position with any stock exchange, clearing corporation, depository and any intermediary registered with it for two years. Varanasi was barred from holding a position in any listed company for three years.

Ajay Shah, others get relief

SAT also stayed proceedings against Ajay Shah, Infotech Financial Services, its two company directors Sunita Thomas and Krishna Dagli as well as NSE’s senior official Suprabhat Lala in the co-location case. They were charged by SEBI with violation of Prevention of Fraudulent and Unfair Trade Practices for alleged data breach.

Shah, a senior academic with government think-tank National Institute of Public Finance and Policy along with his wife and sister-in-law, misused market data obtained from the NSE for commercial gains, SEBI had concluded. SAT observed in its order that the matter involving Shah and others dated back to 2009 and there were no complaints against them in those 10 years, and therefore, the balance of convenience was in their favour.

The three brokerage firms that gained unfair access to NSE’s systems were also granted interim relief by SAT. These brokers — OPG Securities, Way2Wealth Brokers and GKN Securities — have to deposit 50 per cent of the disgorgement amount as security by May 20.

Published on May 14, 2019
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