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Special court verdict in Satyam case likely on Dec 23

India Business Hour

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Days after Satyam founder B Ramalinga Raju was convicted in SFIO cases, a special court here is expected to pronounce its verdict on Tuesday in the multi-crore accounting fraud in the erstwhile Satyam Computer Services Limited (SCSL), capping a nearly six-year trial.

Satyam’s former chairman Raju, along with his brother and Satyam’s former MD B Rama Raju, its former chief financial officer Vadlamani Srinivas and former director Ram Mynampati were given six months’ jail term and fines on December 8, by a Special Court for Economic Offences in connection with complaints filed by Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO).

The court order was subsequently suspended to enable the accused to file appeals.

SFIO, the investigation arm of Union Corporate Affairs Ministry, had filed seven complaints against SCSL and its directors for violations of the Companies Act in the Special Court for Economic Offences here in December 2009.

On October 30, Special judge BVLN Chakravarthi, of the Special Court trying the case, (probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation) pertaining to the multi-crore rupee scam in SCSL, fixed December 23 for pronouncement of the much-awaited judgement.

CBI’s special Public Prosecutor K Surender had then said, “The case is posted for judgement on December 23. In all probability, it (verdict) will be delivered on that date, failing which, because of the volume of the case, it might take a few days more if at all.”

Raju and other accused are scheduled to appear before a local court on Monday in connection with complaints filed by market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

Apart from Raju, Rama Raju, the other accused in the case are Vadlamani Srinivas, former Pricewaterhouse Coopers auditors Subramani Gopalakrishnan and T Srinivas, Raju’s another brother B Suryanarayana Raju, former employees G Ramakrishna, D Venkatpathi Raju and Ch Srisailam, and Satyam’s former internal chief auditor V S Prabhakar Gupta.

Touted as the country’s biggest accounting fraud, the scam came to light on January 7, 2009, after Ramalinga Raju allegedly confessed to manipulating his company’s account books and inflating profits over many years to the tune of several crores of rupees.

Raju was arrested by the Crime Investigation Department of Andhra Pradesh Police two days later along with his brother Rama Raju and others.

Raju and others were charged with offences like cheating, criminal conspiracy, forgery and breach of trust under relevant sections of IPC for inflating invoices and incomes, account falsification, faking fixed deposits, besides allegedly falsifying returns through violation of various Income Tax laws.

In February that year, the CBI took over investigation and filed three charge sheets (on April 7, 2009, November 24, 2009 and January 7, 2010), which were later clubbed into one.

Around 3,000 documents were marked and 226 witnesses were examined. Raju later retracted his confession statement and contended that all charges levelled by the CBI were false.

During the trial, the CBI alleged that the scam caused a loss of Rs 14,000 crore to Satyam shareholders, while the defence countered the charges saying the accused were not responsible for the fraud and all the documents filed by the central agency relating to the case were fabricated and not according to law.

At present, all the accused are out on bail, though the Enforcement Directorate has also filed a charge sheet against them under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

In January this year, Ramalinga Raju’s wife Nandini Raju and sons Teja Raju and Rama Raju were among 21 relatives of the ex-Satyam boss, who were convicted by an economic offences court here on Thursday for default in payment of Income-Tax.

Satyam Computer Services Ltd had later merged with Tech Mahindra.

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