Commuters drive past the National Stock Exchange (NSE) building in Mumbai. (Photo: AFP)
New Delhi: The CBI has arrested former NSE group operating officer Anand Subramanian after expanding its probe into a co-location scam in the exchange following "fresh facts" in a Sebi report that referred to a mysterious yogi guiding the actions of former CEO Chitra Ramkrishna, officials said on Friday.
Subramanian was taken into custody late Thursday night in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, they said.
He was questioned for days in Chennai early this week during which he was found evasive in his responses to the sleuths which prompted the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to examine him in custody, the officials said.
The agency will produce him before a court in Chennai for his transit remand to bring him to Delhi, they said.
Once the plea is granted, the CBI will bring him to the national capital and produce him before a special court for seeking his custodial remand for questioning in connection with the case at its headquarters, they added.
An audit report allegedly referred to Subramanian as a mysterious yogi, but it was dismissed by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) in its report on February 11, the officials said.
Ramkrishna, who succeeded former CEO Ravi Narain in 2013, had appointed Subramanian as her advisor who was later elevated as Group Operating Officer (GOO) at a fat pay cheque of Rs 4.21 crore.
Subramanian's controversial appointment and later elevation besides crucial decisions were guided by an unidentified person who Ramkrishna claimed was a formless mysterious Yogi dwelling in Himalayas, a probe into Ramkrishna's email exchanges during the Sebi-ordered audit showed.
It was alleged in an audit that Subramanian was the yogi, but Sebi dismissed that claim in its final report on February 11.
Ramakrishna had left the NSE in December 2016.
The Securities and Exchange Board of India on February 11 has charged former National Stock Exchange (NSE) CEO 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 has levied a fine of Rs 3 crore on Ramkrishna, Rs 2 crore each on 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.
The CBI, which was probing the co-location scam since 2018 against a Delhi-based stock broker, swung into action after the Sebi report which showed alleged abuse of power by the then top brass of the NSE, the officials said.
The agency expanded its probe and grilled Ramkrishna, Narain and Subramanian in connection with the scam, they said.
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, the officials said.
The agency was also probing unidentified officials of the Sebi and the 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.