CID seeks three-day extension of Raju’s custody (Lead)

January 21st, 2009 - 10:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Ramalinga RajuHyderabad, Jan 21 (IANS) The Crime Investigation Department (CID) of the Andhra Pradesh Police probing the massive fraud in Satyam Computer Services has sought three-day extension of its custody of disgraced former company chairman B. Ramalinga Raju and two other accused.The CID Wednesday moved a petition before a city court for the custody extension to enable it to interrogate them further. The four-day police custody of Ramalinga Raju, his brother and former managing director B. Rama Raju and former chief financial officer of the company Vadlamani Srinivas ends Thursday.

The CID petition will come up for hearing on Thursday. S. Bharat Kumar, the lawyer of the accused, told reporters that he would file a counter to the CID plea.

The CID has sought the custody extension on the plea that it needs more time to question the trio on certain bank documents they allegedly forged.

The court is also expected to give its ruling Thursday on plea of market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to question Ramalinga Raju. The founder of Satyam quit as company head Jan 7 while admitting to a Rs.70-billion (Rs.7,000-crore/$1.43-billion) fraud.

The sixth additional chief metropolitan magistrate Jan 16 heard the arguments of both sides on SEBI’s petition and set Jan 19 for issuing the order. However, as the court remanded Raju to police custody the next day for four days, the case was adjourned to Jan 22.

SEBI counsel said the market watchdog wanted to question Raju to gather more evidence about the statement he made Jan 7, while Raju’s lawyer contended that no purpose would be served by his appearing before SEBI as all the documents were already seized from Satyam offices and that his client had no access to the records to answer SEBI’s questions.

SEBI believes Raju is trying to avoid grilling by ther market watchdog. It 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 CID, denying SEBI an opportunity to question him.

The court will also take up hearing on the bail petition of the accused and is likely to pronounce orders on their petition for special status in jail.

The magistrate had remanded the Raju brothers and the former CFO to judicial custody till Jan 23. They are likely to be produced in the court on Friday as the prosecution will seek extension in judicial custody.

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