NSE-Yogi saga: SEBI can find the 'mysterious' yogi in 10 to 15 days with the help of CBI, or in a month, with the help of a constable at the nearest police station, said a forensic cyber expert.
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has everything it needs to crack the identity of the ‘yogi’ in the centre of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) scam, said a cyber forensics expert.
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In fact, the regulator can find this yogi in 10 to 15 days with the help of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), or in a month, with the help of a constable at the nearest police station, said Nishant Singh.
Singh is the director of Forensic Investigations and Consultancy Services, and who is regularly called as an expert witness in court cases involving private and government entities. His firm has investigated fraud in cooperative banks, audited software used by Delhi Police academies and done forensic investigation for multinational advisories such as PwC.
The exchange has been in the eye of a storm, with its former MD and CEO Chitra Ramakrishna revealed to have been taking guidance from an unknown ‘Himalayan yogi’ to run the enterprise, and to have been sharing confidential information with him.
After more than four years of investigating this scandal, Sebi still does not have the identity of this ‘Himalayan recluse’.
Singh said that all the regulator really needs is the email ID of the ‘yogi’, which is email@example.com. From the email ID alone, the investigator can find the phone number, location (even the exact address) and the identity of the person, and how many times this person has accessed this account and from where.
What about the EY report?
Sebi had hired the audit and advisory firm EY, as well as Deloitte, to investigate the co-location scam. In 2017, EY had submitted its report, which included the study of emails exchanged between Ramakrishna and the outsider-influencer.
The firm had identified the yogi as the now infamous hire and former Group Operating Officer Anand Subramanian. When Sebi gave its order dated February 11, 2022, the regulator dismissed EY’s finding, pointing to inadequate and contradictory evidence.
The regulator said that EY examined only the desktops given to Ramakrishna and Subramanian, and not the laptops that had been assigned to the exchange and Subramanian because the devices had been binned. It also said that only official email IDs of Ramakrishna and Subramanian, and not their private email IDs, had been checked.
Singh told Moneycontrol that both these objections are resolvable.
One, laptops aren’t necessary to trace the identity of the yogi. Two, the private email IDs cannot be accessed by a private entity like the EY, but they can be accessed by a government’s investigating agency.
“EY as a private entity cannot demand details from companies that host private email IDs, such as Gmail or Yahoo. But government investigating agencies have the authority to do so,” he said.
Singh added, “There is no need to access the emails of the so-called yogi (to find out his identity). The CBI can find the person with the email ID alone, the one that was used in the communication between Ramakrishna and the yogi.”
“After getting the IP address through which the ‘yogi’ is accessing the email, it is easy to trace the person or the account holder. It may take a few days more if the person is using proxy servers,” he said.
First Published: IST