Satyam saga: Rajus’ judicial custody extended to Feb 21

HYDERABAD - A city court Saturday extended the judicial custody of disgraced founder and former chairman of Satyam Computer Services B. Ramalinga Raju and four other accused to Feb 21.

Sixth additional chief metropolitan magistrate D. Ramakrishna extended the custody of Ramalinga Raju, his brother and former managing director B. Rama Raju and former chief financial officer (CFO) Vadlamani Srinivas by two weeks.

The judicial custody of Satyam’s former auditors S. Gopalakrishnan and Srinivas Talluri has also been extended. Both were partners of PriceWaterhouse, the firm that audited Satyam’s accounts.

The magistrate extended the judicial custody of all the accused after interacting with them through video between the court and Chanchalguda Central Jail, where they are lodged.

It was exactly a month ago that Ramalinga Raju had quit as Satyam chairman while admitting a Rs.70 billion (Rs.7,000 crore or $1.43 billion) accounting fraud - the biggest in India’s corporate history.

The Raju brothers were arrested by Andhra Pradesh police Jan 9 and former CFO Srinivas a day later. All three were sent to jail till Jan 23. Their judicial custody was subsequently extended twice.

All the five accused are facing charges of cheating, criminal conspiracy, falsification of records and forgery.

D. Gopalakrishnam Raju, general manager of SRSR Advisory Services, a company promoted by Ramalinga Raju to manage his stakes in Satyam, was arrested on similar charges Jan 23. The magistrate, however, granted him bail on Friday.

Meanwhile, fresh bail petitions of the former auditors were moved before the court on Saturday. The court had last week dismissed their bail petitions.

The court has already dismissed the bail pleas of Raju brothers and former CFO Srinivas. Their lawyers have also moved fresh bail petitions.

Raju’s counsel S. Bharat Kumar told IANS Saturday that they were not pressing the bail applications in view of a fresh petition filed by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), seeking permission to record statements of the accused.

The SFIO petition will come up for hearing. Bharat Kumar said his clients want to cooperate with the investigating authorities.

Three days of interrogation of Raju brothers by market regulator Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) concluded in the jail Friday.

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