National

NSE co-location ‘scam’: CBI arrests OPG Securities’ owner

The National Stock Exchange building in Mumbai. File

The National Stock Exchange building in Mumbai. File | Photo Credit: Reuters

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has arrested Sanjay Gupta, the owner of Delhi-based OPG Securities, in connection with the alleged National Stock Exchange (NSE) co-location scam.

“The accused had attempted to bribe the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) officials through a syndicate in Mumbai. He also destroyed evidence. During questioning, he was evasive in his replies,” said an agency official.

Mr. Gupta was one of the accused persons named in the First Information Report (FIR) registered by the CBI in May 2018. As alleged, broker firm OPG Securities was one of the beneficiaries that used an algorithmic trading software to get preferential access to the NSE server data during 2010-14, in connivance with some data centre staff members. The then available co-location facility was also abused to gain quicker data access through the exchange’s secondary server.

About a month ago, expanding the ambit of the probe, the agency conducted searches on the premises of several suspect stock brokers in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Gandhinagar, Noida and Gurugram.

CBI charge sheet

Earlier, the CBI filed a charge sheet against former NSE managing director Chitra Ramkrishna and its former group operating officer Anand Subramanian for their alleged role.

The agency arrested Mr. Subramanian in February and days later, Ms. Ramkrishna was also arrested following several rounds of questioning.

The arrests were made after the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) order levied fines on the two accused and others on multiple counts. The Income Tax Department had also carried out searches on their premises in Chennai and Mumbai.

In the FIR, the CBI had alleged that the software used in the crime was developed by co-accused Ajay Narottam Shah using the NSE’s trade data gathered in 2005-06 ostensibly for research work. The data was shared with Infotech Financial Services Private Limited and Mr. Shah, despite the fact that the company supplied the algorithmic software to several brokers in the NSE.

New turn

Investigations in the case recently took a new turn when the CBI examined the email exchanges between Ms. Ramkrishna and an unknown “Himalayan yogi”, on whose instructions she had allegedly taken various key decisions. They included Mr. Subramanian’s appointment as the chief strategic adviser, his redesignation as group operating officer and huge salary increments for him in quick successions.

The CBI alleged that Mr. Subramanian had created the email ID “rigyajursama@outlook.com” through which the “yogi” was in contact with Ms. Ramkrishna and received the NSE’s confidential documents from her.


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Printable version | Jun 22, 2022 6:59:50 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/nse-co-location-scam-cbi-arrests-opg-securities-owner/article65551660.ece