Rajus sent back to jail, SEBI plea dismissed (Roundup)

January 23rd, 2009 - 10:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Ramalinga RajuHyderabad, Jan 23 (IANS) Satyam Computer Services founder B. Ramalinga Raju, his brother B. Rama Raju and former chief financial officer Vadlamani Srinivas were Friday sent back to jail for one more week by a court here, which, however, turned down a plea by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to record their statements.On the day of hectic developments, the plea of the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), seeking permission to question the accused, was not admitted by the court on the ground that it was not filed under relevant provisions.

Sixth additional chief metropolitan magistrate D. Ramakrishna pronounced his orders here Friday.

The grounds on which the SEBI plea was rejected were not known as the copy of the order was not available. Rajus’ lawyer S. Bharat Kumar, however, told reporters that the court upheld their arguments.

“The court upheld our contention that the petition itself is not maintainable and that the court has no jurisdiction to pass or entertain such petition and pass orders as prayed by the SEBI,” he said.

The magistrate Jan 16 heard the arguments of both sides and reserved the orders.

It has been a fortnight since Raju’s startling admission of a Rs.70-billion (Rs.7,000-crore) financial fraud, the country’s biggest corporate scam, but the SEBI is yet to get an opportunity to question him.

The market watchdog served summons on Raju Jan 9, and his lawyer announced that he would appear the next day. However, a few hours later Raju surrendered before the Crime INvestigation Department (CID), denying the SEBI an opportunity to question him.

Following the magistrate’s refusal to admit SFIO’s petition, the central government’s standing counsel P. Ravindra Reddy told reporters that the SFIO would move a fresh petition.

Earlier, the magistrate extended the judicial custody of all the three accused till Jan 31. An unshaven Ramalinga Raju and Srinivas were brought to the court to hear plea for extension of their judicial custody.

Ramalinga Raju said “no” when magistarte Ramakrishna asked him through court assistant whether the police harassed or troubled him during custody, which ended Friday.

They were present in the courtroom for about 10 minutes and were later shifted to Chanchalguda central jail.

The Raju brothers and Srinivas were handed over to the police Jan 18 till Jan 22 in the first instance. The police custody of Ramalinga Raju and Srinivas was extended till Friday 4 p.m. as the Andhra Pradesh CID wanted to grill them further while Rama Raju was sent back to jail.

The Raju brothers were arrested Jan 9, two days after Ramalinga Raju quit as Satyam chairman while admitting the massive fraud. Srinivas was picked up a day later.

Earlier, magistrate Ramakrishna heard arguments on the bail plea of Rama Raju and posted the matter for Jan 28 for orders. The hearing on the bail pleas of Ramalinga Raju and Srinivas will be taken up Jan 27.

During the hearing of arguments on the bail petition, the public prosecutor told the magistrate that the accused bought land in other states and foreign countries.

Ajay Kumar told the court this information was given by Gopalakrishna Raju, general manager of SRSR Advisory Services, floated by Ramalinga Raju to manage his family stake in Satyam Computer Services.

The court was told that Gopalakrishna Raju has also been arrested. He is the fourth person to be arrested in the case.

CID counsel said BNP Paribas, one of the bankers of Satyam, told the CID that it did not have any fixed deposits of Satyam. “There has been no transaction with the bank since March 31, 2004,” the prosecutor quoted BNP as having informed the CID.

Opposing the bail plea, the prosecutor said the crime was not an ordinary one and can attract life imprisonment. He feared that if released on bail the accused might tamper with evidence. “There is every likelihood of their tampering with the evidence and influencing the investigations,” he said.

On the other hand, Padmanabh Reddy, lawyer for Rama Raju, argued that there was no way that he can tamper with evidence as all documents were the CID.

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