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NSE scam: Substantial investigation pending; CBI filed incomplete charge sheet, says HC

NSE scam: Substantial investigation pending; CBI filed incomplete charge sheet, says HC

Published:28 September 2022

Granting bail to former NSE chief Chitra Ramkrishna, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday said although the case being probed by the CBI pertained to huge financial and economic offences, substantial investigation was still pending and the agency cannot circumvent the right of the accused to get default bail by filing an incomplete charge sheet.

New Delhi | Granting bail to former NSE chief Chitra Ramkrishna, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday said although the case being probed by the CBI pertained to huge financial and economic offences, substantial investigation was still pending and the agency cannot circumvent the right of the accused to get default bail by filing an incomplete charge sheet.
Justice Sudhir Kumar Jain observed that no case for granting regular bail was made out in the present case in view of the gravity and seriousness of offences and subsequent investigation but the accused acquired an indefeasible right to be granted default bail on account of non-completion of investigation within the legally stipulated time.
The judge, who granted Ramkrishna the bail under section 167(2) CrPC on a personal bond of Rs 5 lakh and one surety of the like amount, stated the law permits filing of a final report only after completion of the entire investigation in respect of all offences and not a piecemeal investigation and filing of incomplete charge sheet before the trial court.
Justice Jain also granted bail to former group operating officer (GOO) Anand Subramanian in the co-location scam case on similar terms.
“The investigation is still pending. The allegations against the applicant/accused are serious and grave and are directly related to national economy and financial interests. After considering gravity and seriousness of offence subject matter of present FIR and subsequent investigation, no ground for regular bail under section 439 of the Code is made out,” the court said in its 109-page order.
“(However) The respondent/CBI has failed to complete investigation in respect of all the offences as mentioned in FIR and to file a Final Report under section 173 of the Code within stipulated time i.e. sixty days from the date of the arrest of the applicant/accused and filed an incomplete/piece-meal charge sheet before the concerned court on 21.04.2022 i.e. 46th day from the date of arrest," the order said, and allowed them bail.
The court directed Ramkrishna to not leave the country without its prior permission and surrender her passport. She was also asked to provide her contact number to the investigating officer and keep her mobile phone always operational.
It also asked her to cooperate in the investigation and not tamper with evidence or influence the witnesses.
Besides pressing for regular bail before the high court, Ramkrishna sought default bail under section 167(2) of the CrPC on the ground that the investigation into the offences, as alleged in the FIR, was not complete.
The court noted the CBI filed the chage sheet only for offences punishable under sections 13 (1)(d) and 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act and section 120 B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), while the investigation pertaining to offences under the Information Technology Act and others was still pending.
“In present case substantial investigation arising out of the present FIR is still pending and even allegations as made in charge sheet filed on 21.04.2022 regarding illegal appointment of Anand Subramanian are also directly related to pending investigation pertaining to abuse of server architecture,” the court observed.
“It is true that present FIR involves huge financial and economic offences but in present investigation, the offences for which charge sheet was filed on April 21, 2022 and offences for which investigation arising out of present FIR is still pending are interconnected and interlinked and cannot be separated and even this reflecting from Status Report filed by the respondent/CBI and written arguments submitted on behalf of the respondent/CBI,” the order said.
An FIR was registered in the case in May 2018, amid fresh revelations about alleged irregularities at the country's largest stock exchange.
The CBI is probing alleged "improper" dissemination of information from the computer servers of the market exchanges to stock brokers.
The CBI had arrested Ramkrishna on March 6, a day after her anticipatory bail application was dismissed by a trial court. She was sent to judicial custody in the co-location case on March 14.
The CBI, in a status report filed in the high court, claimed its investigation has established that Ramkrishna abused her official position at NSE to illegally appoint Subramanian as Chief Strategic Advisor, and also arbitrarily and disproportionately hiked his compensation and re-designated him as GOO without requisite approvals.
The agency, while opposing her bail application, claimed Ramkrishna was communicating with an external email-id being operated by Subramanian and that examination of witnesses was still being carried out to unearth the whole conspiracy in the case.


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