HYDERABAD: In the sensational Satyam Computers Accounting Fraud case, the Special Court for CBI cases here on Thursday convicted and sentenced the company’s founder-chairman Byrreddy Ramalinga Raju and his nine accomplices to undergo seven years’ rigorous imprisonment. The court also imposed a fine of Rs 5 crore each on the principal accused and his brother B. Rama Raju. The remaining accused were ordered to pay a fine of Rs 25 lakh each.
- Nine others also sentenced in fraud case
- Raju brothers fined 5 crore each, others 25 lakhs
- 226 witnesses examined in 6 years
It may be mentioned here that one of the world’s biggest accounting fraud by Satyam Computers Services Ltd to the tune of Rs 7,000 crore came to light on January 7, 2009 with the confession of Ramalinga Raju. Raju wrote a letter to the Board of Directors of the company, in which he admitted to cooking the books of the company. A copy of the letter was sent to the stock exchanges as well as the Securities and Exchange Board of India. In this letter Raju admitted to inflating the cash and bank balances of the company by Rs 5,040 crore. He had confessed to manipulating his company’s account books and inflating profits over many years. The confession sent shockwaves across the Software and Information Technology Enabled Service (ITES) industry in the country.
Taking cognizance of Ramalinga Raju’s disclosures of accounting fraud, the Central Bureau of Investigation plunged into action and arrested him on January 9, 2009. Along with Ramalinga Raju, nine others – B. Rama Raju (Ramalinga Raju’s brother and former Managing Director), Srinivas Vadlamani (former Chief Financial officer), S. Gopalakrishnan and Taluri Srinivas (partners Price Waterhouse), B. Suryanarayana Raju, Prabhakar Gupta (internal auditor), G. Ramakrishna (Head, Finance), D. Laxmipathy and Venkatpathi Raju were arrested and charge-sheeted by the CBI. All the accused were tried under Sections 120 B read with Section 420 IPC. After six years of trial, all the accused were found guilty of all charges by Nampally Special court.
Special Judge BVLN Chakravarthi sentenced all the 10 accused to suffer seven year punishment in jail. Raju who was earlier pronounced guilty by the court had requested the judge for lighter punishment due to his health issues, and he also mentioned that he had to look after his aged parents. He has already spent 32 months in jail.
The court had pronounced all the 10 people guilty in one of the biggest corporate scandals involving an Indian company. Raju and former employee G Ramakrishna were also found guilty under section 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence) of IPC by special judge BVLN Chakravarthi, in the case probed by CBI.
Except Raju’s brother B Suryanarayana Raju and former internal chief auditor V S Prabhakar Gupta, all the others eight accused were found guilty under IPC sections 467, 468, 471 and 477A, relating to forgery of security, forgery for purpose of cheating and falsification of accounts, according to V Chandrashekhar, superintendent of police, CBI Hyderabad Zone. Charges against Raju and others include criminal conspiracy and forgery of valuable security carrying minimum punishment of ten years imprisonment and maximum of life sentence.
All the ten accused were present in the court, where media was not allowed, when the verdict was pronounced. After pronouncing the order, the judge directed the CBI to take all the accused into custody.
Around 3,000 documents were marked and 226 witnesses examined during the trial that began nearly six years back. Besides Ramalinga Raju, the others accused are – B Rama Raju, former chief financial officer Vadlamani Srinivas, former PwC auditors Subramani Gopalakrishnan and T Srinivas, Suryanarayana Raju, former employees G Ramakrishna, D Venkatpathi Raju and Ch Srisailam and Satyam’s former internal chief auditor VS Prabhakar Gupta.
Satyam was purchased by Mahindra & Mahindra owned company Tech Mahindra in April, 2009. (NSS)