Mumbai Region

NSE phone tapping case: HC seeks ED’s stand on a bail plea by ex-Mumbai Police commissioner Pandey

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday sought a stand from the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on the bail plea of ​​former Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Pandey in a money laundering case related to alleged illegal phone tapping and espionage of the National Stock Exchange (NSE).

Justice Jasmeet Singh has issued a notice to the ED on the bail plea and asked it to file a status report.

The judge also issued a notice and sought a response from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on separate petitions filed by Pandey and his company Isaac Services Pvt Ltd, seeking quashing of the FIR lodged by the agency about alleged phone tapping for the commission. was demanded. Offences under the Indian Penal Code, Indian Telegraph Act and Prevention of Corruption Act.

According to CBI, ISEC in conspiracy with other accused persons illegally intercepted MTNL lines in NSE between 2009 and 2017 and recorded calls by various NSE officials. It was alleged that telephone surveillance was carried out by ISEC without the permission of the competent authority, under the provisions of the Indian Telegraph Act, and without the knowledge or consent of the NSE employees.

Pandey, who was arrested by the ED on July 19, is currently in judicial custody. Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Pandey, challenging the lower court’s August 4 order quashing bail, urged the court to list the bail plea after a short time and said, “He [Pandey] is a senior citizen. , is a police commissioner. He is not going to run away.”

‘Baseless FIR by CBI’

It was further argued that the CBI FIR should be quashed on the ground that as alleged by the agency, no offence was made out against the former top Mumbai police officer.

In his plea seeking quashing of the FIR in the CBI case, Pandey argued that the FIR has been registered only to fulfill “political vendetta” against him. The petition said that the FIR was “completely baseless” and “no offence was made out”.

Earlier this month, while rejecting Pandey’s bail, the trial court had said that available material shows that he was actively involved in recording and monitoring calls at NSE, and directly interacted with employees of the exchange as well as IPsec Services. was communicating with. , which was responsible for the cyber security audit of NSE.

The trial court had noted that the material collected by the investigating officer “Prime Face” showed that the retired IPS officer was in de facto control over the affairs of ISEC even after 2006, when he resigned as a director, and continued to participate in meetings with NSE. Officer.

It had been said that since the applicant was the head of Mumbai Police till June 30, 2022, the apprehension of the investigating agency that he may influence witnesses or tamper with evidence was not unfounded.

On July 14, the ED arrested Chitra Ramakrishna, former MD and CEO of NSE, in connection with the phone tapping case.

Ramakrishna was already in jail at that time in a CBI case related to the co-location scam in the NSE, which involved alleged manipulation in the stock market.

The next hearing of the case will take place in September.

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