Hyderabad: Satyam Computer Services Ltd founder B. Ramalinga Raju and seven other suspects in India’s biggest corporate fraud case sought release on bail on Monday, the day after the deadline specified by the Supreme Court as the deadline for the completion of their trial.
Raju and six co-accused petitioned the special court trying them in Hyderabad for bail, Raju’s lawyer’s Bharat Kumar said. An eighth suspect, Satyam’s former internal auditing head Prabhakar Gupta, approached the Andhra Pradesh high court.
The Supreme Court had in October ordered the additional chief metropolitan court in Hyderabad, designated the special court to hear the case, to hold daily hearings and complete the trial by 31 July, while cancelling the bail granted by the Andhra Pradesh high court to Raju and five others in August. If the trial is not finished by the deadline, the accused would be free to seek bail, it said.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has completed its case presentation, but the defence hasn’t. Under section 313 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the magistrate has to question the accused, after which the defence produces its witnesses, followed by legal arguments and a verdict.
CBI counsel K. Surender said he hadn’t yet seen the bail petitions of the accused and so couldn’t comment on the matter immediately.
On 7 January 2009, Raju confessed he had misstated accounts to the tune of Rs7,136 crore by inflating cash and bank balances, suppressing information on liabilities and overstating the debtors’ position at Satyam, the company he founded in 1987. He was arrested two days later.
Satyam, ranked No. 4 among India’s computer services providers at the time, plunged into a crisis, hit by a flight of clients and employees. It was bought in April 2009 by Tech Mahindra Ltd in an auction overseen by government-appointed directors and rebranded Mahindra Satyam.
A total of 10 have been named as accused in the Satyam trial. B. Suryanarayana Raju (a brother of Ramalinga Rau), who was neither a director nor an employee of Satyam, has secured anticipatory bail to preempt his arrest. Price Waterhouse auditor Talluri Srinivas won bail from the Supreme Court.