Satyam scam: government promises help to CBI after court rap

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

HYDERABAD - The Andhra Pradesh government Wednesday promised to render all possible assistance to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in probing the massive fraud in Satyam Computer Services after the High Court expressed its displeasure over the lack of cooperation with the investigating team.

On a direction from the court, the government filed a report within two and half hours, detailing the steps it would take to extend cooperation with the multi-disciplinary team of the CBI.

After being rapped by the judge for not cooperating with the CBI team, the government informed the court that it would provide the state-owned Dilkusha Guest House on Raj Bhavan road to the investigating officials.

It also promised to provide all necessary cooperation to the agency to complete the probe.

Earlier, in an extraordinary move the CBI approached the High Court, complaining that the government was not extending cooperation in the investigations.

Taking a serious note of the government’s attitude, Justice N.V. Ramana directed the state government to file its reply within two and half hours.

The CBI plea and the court’s displeasure have come as major embarrassment to the Congress government, which was already under fire from the opposition for being soft towards the disgraced founder and former chairman of Satyam B. Ramalinga Raju and other accused.

The government came under criticism for the delay in recommending to the central government to order a CBI probe. Opposition parties alleged that the probe by the Crime Investigation Department (CID) of the state police was aimed at shielding the accused.

The CBI last week took over the investigations into the Rs.70 billion accounting fraud, the biggest in India’s corporate history.

The premier investigating agency formed a multi-disciplinary team to probe the fraud, which Ramalinga Raju admitted to Jan 7.

The 23-member team comprising officials from CBI, Income-Tax Department, Registrar of Companies, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), representatives of Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India and legal experts landed here Friday.

Though CID handed over all the evidence and material gathered so far to the CBI team, the latter felt the state authorities were not providing necessary facilities.

Since CBI has only a small office here, the team was facing an accommodation problem and also had trouble storing and protecting 200 trunk loads of documents handed over by the CID. These documents were seized from the offices of Satyam and the residence of Ramalinga Raju and other accused.

Ramalinga Raju, his brother and former managing director B. Rama Raju, former chief financial officer Vadlamani Srinivas and two former auditors from Price Waterhouse have been arrested and are lodged in Chanchalguda central jail here.

Filed under: India, Satyam

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