Sebi fines NSE and two former CEOs in co-location case, drops fraud charges

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) on Wednesday imposed a penalty of Rs 1 crore on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) and Rs 25 lakh each on former heads and in a fresh order in the co-location case.

The regulator dropped the allegations of fraudulent and unfair trade practices against NSE, Narain and Chitra and has charged them for violation of the Securities Contracts Stock Exchanges and Clearing Corporations (SECC) Regulations.

The violation is of provisions pertaining to “equal, unrestricted, transparent and fair access to all persons without any bias.”

“The violations in this case are serious in nature, even though there are no investor complaints on record arising out of such violations. Such nature of default with regard to non-adherence to the laid down obligations under the Regulations as observed in this case would compromise the regulatory framework and should be dealt with by imposing monetary penalty on the noticees so as to send an effective message to the market participants as a whole,” said in an order.

It is alleged that between June 2010 and March 2014, the trading system deployed by NSE’s colo facility gave unfair advantage to certain brokers over the others.

In December 2019, had asked NSE to disgorge Rs 625 crore (profit earned from colo operations), along with interest at 12 per cent per annum since 2014. It had also directed Narain and Ramkrishna to disgorge a fourth of their salaries drawn from FY2010-11 to 2012-13 and for FY2013-14, respectively.

Appeals were filed against this order which are currently being considered by the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT).

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