Hyderabad: More than six years after one of the biggest corporate scandals involving an Indian company erupted, a special court in Hyderabad will pronounce its verdict in the multi-crore accounting fraud in erstwhile Satyam Computer Services Ltd (SCSL). The case which rocked India Inc and led to a massive upheaval in the software and Information Technology Enabled Service (ITES) industry in the country was investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation.
During the last hearing on March 9, Special Judge BVLN Chakravarthi said, "On April 9, the judgement will be pronounced. I am making it very clear. April 9 will be the final date for the verdict. No question of further adjournments. Court will not wait."
B Ramalinga Raju, one of the pioneers in the industry and Satyam's founder and then chairman, allegedly confessed to manipulating his company's account books and inflating profits over many years to the tune of crores of rupees. The confession sent shockwaves across the industry.
He was arrested by Andhra Pradesh Police's Crime Investigation Department along with his brother Rama Raju and others on January 11. All the 10 accused in the case are currently out on bail. Around 3,000 documents were marked and 226 witnesses examined during the trial that began nearly six years ago.
Besides Ramalinga Raju, the other accused are, his brother and Satyam's former Managing Director B Rama Raju, former chief financial officer Vadlamani Srinivas, former PwC 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 VS Prabhakar Gupta.
Raju and others were charged with offences like cheating, criminal conspiracy, forgery and breach of trust under relevant sections of Indian Penal Code (IPC) for inflating invoices and incomes, account falsification, faking fixed deposits, besides allegedly falsifying returns through violation of various Income Tax laws.
In February 2009, the CBI took over the investigation and filed three charge sheets (on April 7, 2009, November 24, 2009 and January 7, 2010), which were later clubbed into one. The first two charge sheets dealt with the account fudging by Raju with the assistance of nine others, while the third charge sheet relates to "violation" of various Income Tax rules.
While the CBI accused Raju and the others of cheating, breach of trust by way of inflating invoices and incomes in the first and third charge sheets, the second one dealt with the accused allegedly falsifying returns through violation of various IT laws.
During the trial, the CBI alleged that the scam caused a loss of Rs 14,000 crore to shareholders of Satyam, 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 the law.
The Enforcement Directorate had also filed a charge sheet against them under Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
In January 2014, Ramalinga Raju's wife Nandini Raju and sons Teja Raju and Rama Raju were among 21 relatives of the former Satyam boss who were convicted by a Special Court for Economic Offences here for default in Income Tax payment.
Ramalinga Raju, Rama Raju, Vadlamani Srinivas and former director Ram Mynampati were sentenced to six months jail term on December 8, 2014 and fined by the Special Court for Economic Offences in connection with complaints filed by Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) for violation of various provisions of the Companies Act.