Cracking the whip in the NSE co-location case, regulator Sebi directed NSE to pay profits worth over Rs 687 crore, imposed a six-month ban on launching new derivative products, barred some present and past executives from the market and initiated strict action against stock brokers. SEBI recently passed five separate orders regarding the Co-Location Case wherein some entities allegedly got preferential access in high frequency trading. The country's largest stock exchange has also been barred from accessing the securities market directly or indirectly for six months.
Ravi Narain and Chitra Ramkrishna, who had served as MD and CEO of the exchange, have been prohibited from associating with a listed company or a market infrastructure institution or any other market intermediary for a period of five years. . They further have been directed not to hold any position in any stock exchange and clearing corporation, among others, for three years. They have also been directed to disgorge 25 pe cent of respective salaries drawn during a certain period. The regulator has also directed action against at least five officials of the exchange.The disgorged amount has to be deposited within 45 days in the Investor Protection and Education Fund.
The attention of SEBI was invited this matter known as the Co-Location case in 2015 when a whistleblower made a complaint regarding the preferential system. The important operative part of the order regarding the punitive directions is as follows:- Ravi Varanasi, head of Business Development Function at the exchange, has been barred for two years from holding any position with any stock exchange. NSE Assistant Vice President Suprabhat Lala has been banned for two years from holding any position or be associated with any stock exchange, clearing corporation, depository, or any intermediary registered with Sebi. Subramanian Anand, Group Operating Officer (GOO) and Advisor to MD of NSE has been banned for three years from indulging in similar activities. Nagendra Kumar SRVS (NSE-Head of Membership Department) and Deviprasad Singh (Head of Colo Support - NSE) have been each banned for 2 years from being associated with market intermediaries.
Infotech Financial Services has also been banned for two years from providing any services in this regard for two years. Among other entities, Sebi barred OPG Securities and its three directors for five years from accessing securities market and asked them to disgorge illegal gains of more than Rs 15 crore. Action has also been taken against Way2Wealth Brokers Pvt Ltd, its CEO Shashi Bhushan, GKN Securities Partners Sonali Gupta, Om Prakash Gupta and Rahul Gupta, Sampark Infotainment Pvt Ltd and its CEO Prashanth D'souza. Further, the exchange has to reconstitute its Standing Committee on Technology at regular intervals to take stock of technological issues and frame a clear policy on administering whistle-blower complaints, as per an order. For commutation of the disgorgement amount, the regulator took into account that TBT data dissemination commenced from June 2010 onwards and continued till March 2014.