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CBI questions ex-NSE CEO Ravi Narain over abuse of colocation facility by broker


The CBI has questioned former Nation Stock Exchange CEO Ravi Narain in connection with its ongoing probe related to the alleged abuse of colocation facility by an NSE stock broker, officials said Sunday.

The CBI investigators lobbed several sharp questions while recording Narain’s statement on the colocation facility and working of the stock exchange, they said.
Narain, who appeared before the CBI investigators in Delhi on Saturday, may be called again for further questioning, they said.

On Friday, the agency had questioned former MD-CEO of NSE Chitra Ramkrishna in connection with the case.

The agency has also issued look out circulars against Ramkrishna, Narain and former COO Anand Subramanian to prevent them from leaving the country.
The central probe agency had booked stock broker Sanjay Gupta, owner and promoter of Delhi based OPG Securities Pvt. Ltd, in 2018 for allegedly making gains by getting early access to the stock market trading system, they said.

The agency was also probing unidentified officials of Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and National Stock Exchange (NSE), Mumbai and other unknown persons.

“It was alleged that the owner and promoter of said private company abused the server architecture of NSE in conspiracy with unknown officials of NSE. It was also alleged that unknown officials of NSE, Mumbai had provided unfair access to said company using the co-location facility during the period 2010-2012 that enabled it to login first to the exchange server of Stock Exchange that helped to get the data before any other broker in the market,” the CBI has alleged in the FIR. Narain was the MD and CEO of the exchange from April 1994 till March 2013. Thereafter, he was appointed as vice-chairman in the non-executive category on the NSE’s board from April 2013 and remained so till June 2017.

Under the colocation facility, the NSE allowed brokers to place their servers in the data centre of NSE for a charge, enabling them to have faster access to the price feed distributed by the stock exchange.

Ramkrishna hit the headlines after Sebi on February 11 said she was steered by a yogi, dwelling in the Himalayan ranges, in the appointment of Anand Subramanian as the exchange’s group operating officer and advisor to the managing director (MD).

The Securities and Exchange Board of India charged Ramkrishna and others with alleged governance lapses in the appointment of Subramanian as the chief strategic advisor and his re-designation as group operating officer and advisor to MD.

Sebi levied a fine of Rs 3 crore on Ramkrishna, Rs 2 crore each on the National Stock Exchange (NSE), Subramanian, former NSE MD and CEO Ravi Narain, and Rs 6 lakh on V R Narasimhan, who was the chief regulatory officer and compliance officer.

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