The PE covers FTIL, MCX and Sebi ex-member K.M. Abraham, who had written to the PMO that Sebi was being pressurised by the Finance Ministry to go easy on some corporates, including Sahara.

The Central Bureau of Investigation, on Thursday, instituted a preliminary enquiry (PE) against former Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) C. B. Bhave and the then SEBI member K. M. Abraham besides the Financial Technologies India Limited (FTIL) and MCX and others for alleged irregularities in granting sanction to MCX Stock Exchange (MCX-EX).

SEBI had initially given recognition to MCX-SX in 2008 for a limited segment of currency derivatives on the condition that the licence would require approval every year.

“The approval was renewed in 2009 and then in 2010 during Mr. Bhave’s tenure as SEBI chairman,” said a CBI official.

MCX-SX was set up by promoter Jignesh Shah-led FTIL and MCX. It started functioning as a full-fledged stock exchange last year.

However, after the repayment crisis in the National Spot Exchange Limited, SEBI had directed MCX-SX to restructure its board and governance structure.

In June 2011, Mr. Abraham — who, according to the CBI, is also under the scanner in the PE — had written to the Prime Minister alleging that senior Finance Ministry officials were attempting to influence the quasi-judicial and investigative functions of the regulatory body at the behest of some corporate houses, a charge that was denied by the Finance Ministry and SEBI.