PM reviews government response on Satyam scam

January 13th, 2009 - 11:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Jan 13 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday once again reviewed with his key cabinet colleagues and senior finance ministry officials the government’s response to the Rs.70- billion Satyam Comptuter Services scam that has rocked the India Inc.Among those who attended the Tuesday meeting were Home Minister P. Chidambaram, who earlier held the finance portfolio, Commerce Minister Kamal Nath and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who was with the prime minister at the time, also attended the meeting, sources in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said.

“The prime minister has been monitoring the situation right from the day one. Since he also holds the finance portfolio, he is keen that the response is swift and targeted,” a PMO source said.

“He is particularly keen that the employees of Satyam do not suffer from the mistakes of the erstwhile Satyam management,” the source added.

Officials said the constitution of a new board for the company, as also the probe ordered by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office was at the direction of the prime minister.

“He’s on top of it,” the PMO source said, referring to the government’s moves on the Rs.70 billion ($1.4 billion) fraud admitted to by the company’s founder and former chairman B. Ramalinga Raju that has shaken India’s entire corporate sector.

The prime minister held a series of meetings over the past few days during which he was briefed by the chief of market watchdog Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) C.B. Bhave, as also by Corporate Affairs Minister Prem Chand Gupta, the PMO sources added.

Raju has confessed before investigators that he manipulated the balance sheet of the company for the past seven years to attract more business and avoid any possible hostile acquisition.

Ramalinga Raju, in his confessional statement before officials of the Crime Investigation Department (CID) of Andhra Pradesh police, said things had gone out of control because of the present global situation and hence he tendered his resignation as chairman of the board on Jan 7.

The reconstituted Satyam board held its first meeting Monday. The board comprises former chief of the National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom) Kiran Karnik, chairman of Housing Development Finance Corp (HDFC) Deepak Parekh and former SEBI member C. Achuthan.

Apart from the Serious Fraud Investigation Office, the Securities and Exchange Board of India, the Registrar of Companies and the Institute of Chartered Accounts of India are conducting concurrent investigations into the Satyam scam.

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