CBI questions Rajus, ex-CFO in Satyam scam

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

HYDERABAD - The investigations into Rs.78 billion (Rs.7,800 crore) scam in Satyam Computer Services picked up momentum as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Tuesday questioned the IT firm’s disgraced former chairman B. Ramalinga Raju and four other accused.

The CBI’s multi-disciplinary investigation team (MDIT) headed by the agency’s DIG V.V. Lakshmi Narayana is quizzing the accused at the state-owned Dilkusha Guest House near the Raj Bhavan, the official residence of the governor.

The questioning began immediately after CBI officials took custody of the accused following a court order. A team of CBI officials went to Chanchalguda Central Jail and brought the accused to the guest house, which is serving as the camp office of the investigating team.

A court had Monday allowed the CBI to take custody of Ramalinga Raju, his brother and former managing director B. Rama Raju, ex-chief financial officer Vadlamani Srinivas and sacked PriceWaterhouse partners S. Gopalakrishnan and Talluri Srinivas. The accused will be in CBI custody for seven days.

The CBI hopes to gather vital information from the accused during the week-long questioning, the first since the federal agency took up investigation last month from the Andhra Pradesh Police.

The investigating agency is likely grill Ramalinga Raju about how the massive fraud was committed, the involvement of other company officials, diversion of Satyam funds to over 300 companies floated by him and his family members and purchase of lands and other property by the accused.

This is the first time an investigation team involving experts from different fields is questioning the accused.

The 16-member MDIT includes banking experts, chartered accountants and officials from the Securities and Exchange Board of India, Registrar of Companies, Serious Fraud Investigation Office, Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax.

The CBI last month booked the accused for criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, cheating, forgery and falsification of accounts.

Ramalinga Raju had Jan 7 confessed that he had cooked the company’s account books and inflated profits over the past several years.

The company founder and his brother Rama Raju were arrested Jan 9. Former chief financial officer Vadlamani was picked up the next day. Two former auditors from PriceWaterhouse were detained later.

Filed under: India, Satyam

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