Hyderabad: Police in Andhra Pradesh have seized five boxes of original land documents of as many as 147 firms floated by relatives of B. Ramalinga Raju, the founder of Satyam Computer Services Ltd, after a key employee at a family-controlled company admitted to concealing the papers from the police.
The papers were seized by the criminal investigation department (CID) of the state police. In a confessional statement to the department, Datla Venkata Gopala Krishnam Raju (D.V.G.K. Raju), general manager of SRSR Advisory Services Pvt. Ltd, said he had hidden the documents on the instructions of B. Suryanarayana Raju, the younger brother of Ramalinga Raju. SRSR Advisory Services provides financial and advisory services.
S. Bharat Kumar, a lawyer for the Raju family, denied that the SRSR manager had made any confessions, insisting that the CID was fabricating such statements to harass his clients.
Satyam has been at the centre of India’s biggest accounting fraud after Ramalinga Raju confessed on 7 January that he had fudged the company’s account books to the tune of Rs7,136 crore by inflating revenue and receivables and showing non-existent bank balances.
Suryanarayana Raju is a director of SRSR Advisory Services along with B. Teja Raju, the elder son of Ramalinga Raju and vice-chairman of Maytas Infra Ltd, which Satyam attempted to buy on 16 December in a deal cancelled less than 12 hours later as investors revolted.
Some of the 147 firms hold equity stakes in Maytas Infra.
D.V.G.K. Raju, who has been associated with the family businesses of Ramalinga Raju from 1985, confessed to the police that he had shifted all original land documents of the Satyam promoters’ family hurriedly to various places in the last fortnight to conceal them from the police.
He said he was reporting directly to Suryanarayana Raju in the company. A copy of his confessional statement was reviewed by Mint.
The SRSR Advisory general manager added he had handed over documents belonging to Maytas Properties Pvt. Ltd, another company that was sought to be bought by Satyam on 16 December, to its chief financial officer K. Badri.
“On January 10, he (B. Suryanarayana Raju) came personally to my office and instructed me to shift and conceal documents. Later, he used to instruct me over the phone. On his instructions, I, along with my colleague K.V.N. Krishnama Raju, have taken all the documents, hired one Toyota Innova car and concealed them at various places in the city,” D.V.G.K. Raju said in the statement to the police.
While producing D.V.G.K. Raju before a metropolitan magistrate here on Friday, the CID said it also seized a CD containing details of updated land records and original share certificates. He was sent to judicial custody for 14 days and shifted to Chanchalguda Central Prison in Hyderabad. A senior official of the Inspector General of Stamps and Registration, Andhra Pradesh, who did not want to be named, said his department has so far found some 275 firms floated by family members of Ramalinga Raju, which had bought some 4,190 acres of land in and around Hyderabad.
Separately, officers of the CID on Saturday arrested two partners of the audit firm Price Waterhouse, an affiliate of PricewaterhouseCoopers Ltd (PwC), who were in charge of signing off on Satyam’s account books. The partners are S. Gopalakrishnan and Srinivas Talluri. PwC has been auditing Satyam’s books since 2000-01. Both officials have been sent to judicial custody till 6 February.
The auditing firm said it regretted the detentions. “Over the last fortnight, the firm has fully cooperated in all inquiries and has provided the documents called for by the Indian authorities,” PwC said in a statement on Saturday.
Lison Joseph contributed to the story.