NSE phone-tapping case: Mumbai ex-top cop denied bail

NSE phone-tapping case: Mumbai ex-top cop denied bail

Denying bail to former Mumbai Police commissioner Sanjay Pandey in a money laundering case, a Delhi court on Thursday said that material collected by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which is probing the case, prima facie shows Pandey’s involvement “in execution of recording and monitoring of calls” of employees of the National Stock Exchange (NSE).

Dismissing Pandey’s bail plea, Special Judge Sunena Sharma noted that the 1986-batch IPS officer was “directly communicating with NSE staff as well as the staff of iSec (Securities) for the said purposes.”

iSec Services Pvt Ltd was incorporated in 2001 by Pandey. The ED case is based on a CBI FIR registered in 2018 against Pandey, an audit company linked to his family (iSec), and others, including NSE’s former managing director and CEO Chitra Ramkrishna.

The court said the material collected by the investigating officer prima facie show that Pandey was in “de facto control of the affairs of iSec with NSE officials”, and that he “kept giving instructions to employees of iSec for execution of work assigned to the company by NSE”.

It held that the material show Pandey was “fully aware of the real purposes for which services of iSec were hired under the guise of ‘periodic study of cyber vulnerabilities’”. Therefore, Special Judge Sharma noted, money “derived from the said ostensible purpose prima facie seems to be proceeds of crime”.

The court said Pandey was the Mumbai Police commissioner until June 30 this year, and thus ED’s apprehension that he may influence witnesses or tamper with evidence was “not unfounded”.

The court said the nomenclature given to a proposal by iSec does not match the work actually assigned to the company, as “illegal interception of calls or analysis of recorded calls has nothing to do with cyber security of NSE.”

The court also said that money laundering was an independent offence, regarding an activity connected with the proceeds of crime. It noted that in this case, top NSE officials acted as “agents of NSE in connivance with iSec” and allegedly committed “criminal activity relating to the offence criminal conspiracy to cheat the NSE and misappropriate funds of NSE” by tapping phones of employees in the “guise of the facade transaction of periodic study of cyber vulnerabilities.”

During bail arguments, Pandey, through his lawyer Tanvir Ahmed Mir, had maintained that he was framed for investigating high-profile political cases.

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