New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday denied bail to B. Ramalinga Raju, the main accused in the multi-crore-rupee accounting fraud at Satyam Computer Services Ltd, on the ground that he may influence the witnesses.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India K. G. Balakrishnan rejected the 56-year-old Raju’s argument that he was entitled to bail as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had already filed charges in the case and because he was suffering from cardiac problems and hepatitis.

“When serious crimes are committed, people are bound to be in jail," the bench said, adding that Raju was receiving proper medical treatment.

No relief: B. Ramalinga Raju. The apex court rejected Raju’s bail application on the ground that he may influence witnesses. Bharath Sai/Mint

Raju has been in jail since January 2009, after confessing to a Rs7,136 crore fraud at Satyam, making it India’s biggest corporate fraud.

The apex court said Raju could not be released until the main witnesses in the case were examined. It asked Raju to renew his bail application later.

Raju had moved the Supreme Court on 11 March against an order by the Andhra Pradesh high court rejecting his bail application.

Raju has been hospitalized twice since his arrest. In September, he underwent an angioplasty after he was diagnosed with blocks in the arteries. He was shifted back to jail in November, but was subsequently diagnosed with hepatitis and had to be hospitalized again. Raju has abstained from the fast track court several times, citing poor health.

CBI, which is probing the fraud, has opposed bail for Raju, saying he could influence the witnesses and hamper its investigation.

Of the 10 accused in the case, Raju’s younger brother Suryanarayana Raju obtained bail in the early days of the probe from a local court. PriceWaterhouseCoopers auditor Srinivas Talluri was granted bail recently on orders by the apex court.

Satyam Computer changed hands on 13 April and is now controlled by Tech Mahindra Ltd, a unit of the Mahindra group.

(C.R. Sukumar in Hyderabad contributed to this story.)

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