A Delhi court on Thursday denied bail to former Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Pandey in a case of alleged tapping of phones of employees of the National Stock Exchange, reported PTI.
On Wednesday, special Judge Sunena Sharma reserved her order on Pandey’s bail plea. Pandey had argued that he was a whistleblower who flagged suspicious activities in the National Stock Exchange, Bar and Bench reported.
Advocate Tanvir Ahmed Mir, appearing on behalf of Pandey, had said that his client had the job to flag calls that indicated any illegal activities.
“NSE employees are betting in IPL [Indian Premier League] and I am flagging those activities...What wrong did I commit?” Pandey asked the court.
He had claimed that phone-tapping instruments had been installed in the National Stock Exchange in 2012 by a company called Nexus, reported The Indian Express. The former Mumbai Police chief had also alleged that recording of phone calls was being done in several other government institutions at the time, including at banks.
“If it is not an offence there, how is it an offence here?” he argued. “Call it snooping or whatever, this is being done everywhere. The West Bengal State Distribution company has this. Why is no one being arrested? SEBI [Securities and Exchange Board of India] says record all calls…”
Meanwhile, Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, appearing on behalf of the Enforcement Directorate, said that Pandey has not challenged the first information report in the case, according to The Indian Express.
“He [Pandey] cannot now argue no predicate offence is made out,” Raju told the court. “...SEBI doesn’t say you record private conversations. They have no business tampering with MTNL lines.”
Pandey was booked by the agency on money laundering charges on July 14 along with former chiefs of the National Stock Exchange Chitra Ramkrishna and Ravi Narain.
The case is linked to the alleged phone tapping of employees of the National Stock Exchange during the period when a co-location scam took place. The Central Bureau of Investigation has alleged that Pandey had set up a company called iSec Securities, which was used for electronic surveillance of the employees.
The co-location scam pertains to allegations of preferential access to the National Stock Exchange trading platform that allowed certain brokers to trade before the markets opened. The first FIR in the case was filed in 2018.
Ramkrishna and Narain, both former managing directors and chief executive officers of the stock exchange, have already been booked for the co-location scam by the Central Bureau of Investigation.
Pandey was first questioned by the Enforcement Directorate on July 5 for its investigation into a money laundering angle in the co-location scam. He had retired as Mumbai Police commissioner on June 30.
Enforcement Directorate officials allege that the agency had found evidence of secret phone surveillance during the questioning. The agency then informed about the development to the Union home affairs ministry which asked the CBI to investigate the case.
iSec Securities was one of the firms tasked to conduct security audits at the National Stock Exchange between 2010 to 2015, during which the co-location scam allegedly took place. The company did not alert the stock exchange that its servers were compromised, the CBI has alleged.