Former National Stock Exchange (NSE) chief Chitra Ramkrishna, accused of being involved in grave lapses at India’s largest stock market — including sharing confidential information with an individual she dubbed a “Himalayan yogi” — has been sent to jail for 14 days. The 59-year-old, who has been heading the NSE since 2013, was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation on February 24 after days of questioning in what has been dubbed the market manipulation scam.
The case — involving an unfair advantage in trading to some brokers — was filed in 2018. The agency is investigating allegations of information leak from the computer servers of the market exchanges to stockbrokers in what has come to be known as the “co-location scam”.
Chitra Ramkrishna had moved a petition seeking bail, contending that the agency does not seek her custody any more.
But the CBI opposed it, arguing that she is an influential person and the investigation is still in progress on her foreign visits and other aspects of the case. “Hence we want her to be sent to judicial custody,” the agency argued.
The court approved jail custody, and later rejected her request for home food and other amenities.
“Every prisoner is the same. She can’t be a VIP prisoner because of what she had been. Rules can’t be changed,” judge Sanjeev Aggarwal said, as her counsel pressed for special facilities inside the jail.
The court, however, allowed her to carry a copy of a prayer books, the Hanuman Chalisa and Bhagwad Gita.
Ms Ramkrishna was arrested by the CBI after nearly four years of investigation against a Delhi-based stockbroker. The arrest came after market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) released a report, indicating alleged misuse of power by the top management of the NSE.
The report said Ms Ramkrishna was guided by a mysterious “Himalayan Yogi” in all personal and professional matters for around 20 years. The “yogi” was later revealed to be Anand Subramanian, a former stock exchange official arrested in a market manipulation case.