NSE phone-tapping case: The CBI has taken four-day custody of former Mumbai Police commissioner Sanjay Pandey in connection with the alleged illegal phone tapping of NSE employees by his information technology firm, officials said on Saturday.
Pandey was already in the judicial custody of the Enforcement Directorate in connection with probes against him. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) approached a special CBI court here seeking his custody in connection with the tapping case. The court granted four-day custody of the accused to the probe agency, they said.
The agency has booked Pandey, his Delhi-based company iSec Services Pvt Ltd, NSE officials -- former MD and CEOs Ravi Narain and Chitra Ramkrishna, executive vice president Ravi Varanasi and head (premises) Mahesh Haldipur -- among others, in the FIR.
The CBI has alleged that during 2009-17, Narain, Ramkrishna, currently in judicial custody in the NSE co-location scam, Varanasi and Haldipur conspired to illegally intercept the telephones of National Stock Exchange (NSE) employees for which they hired iSec Services Pvt Ltd, founded by Pandey in 2001.
The company received a payment of Rs 4.45 crore for the illegal tapping which was camouflaged as "Periodic Study of Cyber Vulnerabilities" at NSE, it alleged. The company also provided transcripts of the tapped conversations to senior management of the stock market, the FIR alleged.
"...Top officials of NSE issued agreement and work orders in favour of said private company and illegally intercepted the phone calls of its employees by installing machines, in contravention of provisions under the Indian Telegraph Act," the CBI had said after the FIR.
The agency had also seized servers and digital devices of the company. Officials said the interception was stopped in 2019, months after the CBI started probe in NSE co-location scam in 2018 and the machines and infrastructure used for interception was disposed of as e-waste by the NSE.
During the searches, the CBI claimed to have recovered original transcripts, raid server, voice samples, two laptops containing evidence related to interception, bills generated for services of the company, among others, from the company premises, officials said.
They said four MTNL lines used by NSE employees were under scanner having capacity of 120 calls at a time.
The agency alleged that no permission for this activity was taken from the competent authority as provided under section five of the Indian Telegraph Act.
"No consent of the employees of NSE was also taken in this matter," it had said. The company had done audit around the time the co-location irregularities are alleged to have taken place.
Pandey had resigned as police officer to start iSec Services Pvt Ltd in March 2001, but his resignation was not accepted and he returned to police service quitting as the company's director in May 2006. His son and mother later took charge of the company.
The police officer, who studied at IIT-Kanpur and Harvard University, was made Mumbai Police commissioner during the MVA government headed by former Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray.