Market regulator SEBI on Thursday absolved former NSE CEO, Ravi Narain and 8 others in the co-location case wherein brokers were alleged to have received preferential access to the trading systems of the bourse.
The order exonerated top NSE executives including Mr Narain, former Senior Vice President, Operations, R. Nandakumar, and former CTO N. Muralidharan from the "allegations charged...considering the facts and circumstances of the case".
The order also noted that it can't be held that the Mr Narain and other NSE executives were involved in facilitating "Sampark" to lay down the dark fibre line to provide P2P connectivity or had any role in modifying the Circular of 2009 in the year 2013.
"Under the circumstances, I am constrained to conclude that based on the materials available on record, the charges against the noticees that they have acted in violation of the provisions... are not established," the order said.
The co-location case which dates back to 2015 sparked controversy when a whistleblower wrote to the SEBI alleging the NSE was giving a few high-frequency brokers preferential access to its servers by allowing them to place their servers in the NSE premises that benefited both the parties at the cost of others.
Investigation and an order post the complaints had led to postponement of IPO plans of the bourse as it was banned from accessing the markets for six months or launching any new derivative products.
Last year, the regulator asked the NSE to cough up Rs 1,000 crore, including 12 per cent interest, for its alleged culpability in the case.