Hyderabad:A special court conducting the trial into the accounting fraud at erstwhile Satyam Computer Services Ltd set a new date for pronouncing the date of verdict citing voluminous records and evidence in the five-and-a-half-year-old case.

Additional chief metropolitan magistrate B.V.L.N. Chakravarthi on Thursday said he will announce the date of judgement on 28 July, and directed all the 10 accused, including former chairman B. Ramalinga Raju, to appear before it that day, two lawyers present inside the court hall said.

The judge barred the media from entering the court on Thursday.

Arguments by the counsels of CBI and the accused in the trial that began in November 2010 have been completed this week. A total of 216 witnesses and 3,038 documents were examined during the course of the trial of corporate India’s biggest scandal.

Once the poster boy of the Indian outsourcing industry, Ramalinga Raju confessed to fudging the accounts of Satyam Computer to the tune of 7,136 crore in January 2009. He later disowned his statement during the trial.

The CBI has accused Raju of inflating revenues, fabricating invoices, falsifying accounts and income-tax returns, and faking fixed deposit (FD) receipts in collaboration with some of his key executives, to paint a rosy picture of the company’s financials to deceive the public. His actions, along with the nine other accused, caused a loss of 14,000 crore to Satyam shareholders, the CBI estimated in its chargesheet.

The investigating agency, which took over the case from the state’s Crime Investigation Department (CID) in February 2009, filed three chargesheets within a year.

It identified 10 accused including two of Raju’s brothers, B. Rama Raju (then managing director of Satyam) and B. Suryanarayana Raju, former chief financial officer Srinivas Vadlamani, four employees V.S. Prabhakar Gupta (former chief internal auditor), G. Ramakrishna, D. Venkatapathi Raju and Ch. Srisailam, and former employees of external auditor Price Waterhouse T. Srinivas and Subramani Gopalakrishnan, as the accused in the case. All of them are currently out on bail.

Price Waterhouse is an affiliate of PricewaterhouseCooper’s in India.

The accused have been booked for offences ranging from cheating, forgery, criminal conspiracy and breach of trust under different sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Criminal breach of trust (Section 409) carries maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Besides the CBI, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has also filed a chargesheet against 213 people including Raju and 166 firms including Satyam Computer under different provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), and attached different properties belonging to them.

An economic offences court in Hyderabad convicted directors of 19 companies whose promoters included wife and sons, family members and relatives of Raju for evading income tax in January.

To contain the damage from Raju’s confession, the government stepped in by appointing a new board and auctioning the company to the highest bidder Tech Mahindra Ltd, which renamed the firm as Mahindra Satyam. Tech Mahindra revived the ailing firm before merging it with itself last year to create the country’s fifth biggest IT firm.

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