Decision on Rajus’ bail plea Wednesday (Lead)

January 27th, 2009 - 9:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Ramalinga RajuHyderabad, Jan 27 (IANS) A court here Tuesday reserved till Wednesday its decision on the bail pleas of Satyam Computer’s disgraced founder B. Ramalinga Raju and the company’s former chief financial officer Vadlamani Srinivas.The court will also rule Wednesday on the bail plea of Ramalinga Raju’s brother and former managing director B. Rama Raju.

Sixth additional chief metropolitan magistrate D. Ramakrishna heard the arguments on the bail pleas of Ramalinga Raju and Srinivas. The court had Friday heard the arguments on the bail petition of Rama Raju and reserved orders.

The court will also hear Wednesday the plea of the Andhra Pradesh police for the custody of Gopalakrishna Raju, former general manager of SRSR Advisory Services, floated by Ramalinga Raju to manage the family’s stake in Satyam. His bail petition will also come up for hearing.

Earlier, the magistrate posted for Jan 29 the bail petition moved by two partners of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the firm that audited the fraud-hit Satyam’s books.

PwC partners S. Gopalakrishnan and Srinivas Taluri were arrested by CID Jan 24 for their alleged complicity with Ramalinga Raju and other accused in the fraud.

Mastan Naidu Cherukuri, counsel for the two auditors, said a notice was served on the Crime Investigation Department (CID) of the police and the public prosecutor sought time for filing the counter. The judge slated the next hearing on Jan 29.

During the hearing, counsels for Ramalinga Raju and Srinivas said the accused would cooperate fully in the investigations if they were released on bail. “They can also make themselves available for investigations by other agencies like SEBI, Registrar of Companies and Serious Fraud Investigation Office,” they said.

The defence argued that it was only a case of falsification of records and inflating figures and did not fall under the first category of offences that attract death sentence or life imprisonment, and so the accused could be released on bail.

Arguing for Ramalinga Raju, senior counsel Prakash Reddy said the court may impose conditions while granting bail.

“We have cooperated with the investigating agency and are ready to cooperate even after our release on bail,” he said, and argued that CID had already seized all the documents and the passport of the accused. “We subjected ourselves to the legal process, surrendered ourselves and were questioned by CID for five days,” he said.

Nalin Kumar, counsel for Srinivas, argued the former CFO’s name did not figure in the FIR.

Kumar also said the statements by Ramalinga Raju and Rama Raju did not speak of his complicity. “He was a paid employee of Satyam and he has to look for an alternate employment to look after his family,” said the counsel while arguing for the grant of bail.

Public prosecutor Ajay Kumar said the accused concealed information knowing fully well its consequences. “They claim cash reserves running into billions of rupees, which were not existing, manipulated records marring careers of thousands of employees and looted money to invest in their companies,” he said.

“Pleading innocence is ridiculous because this fraud was committed for seven years. If the accounts were fudged or books were cooked up will be known if the brains behind it are brought to book,” he said.

Opposing the bail plea, the prosecution said the accused might tamper with evidence. “They may cause disappearance of witnesses and absconding of the accused,” he said.

He also told the court that SRSR Advisory’s Gopalakrishna Raju was tampering with the evidence at the instance of the accused. “If this can be done while in custody, there is no guarantee that evidence will not be tampered with when they are on bail,” the prosecutor said.

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