A special court trying the multi-crore accounting fraud in erstwhile Satyam Computer Services Ltd (SCSL) in its judgement on Thursday found the firm’s founder and then Chairman B Ramalinga Raju guilty in the case and sentenced him to seven years in Jail.
Raju and his brother B Rama Raju have also been fined Rs five crore each while the eight others accused have been fined varying amounts up to Rs. 25 lakh by the special court.
The special court found Raju guilty of cheating, forgery and criminal breach of trust. The court has also found all the other 9 accused guilty in the case and sentenced them to seven years rigorous imprisonment.
Touted as the country’s biggest accounting fraud, the scam had come to light on January 7, 2009, after Raju allegedly confessed to manipulating his company’s account books and inflating profits over many years to the tune of crores of rupees.
Raju was arrested by Andhra Pradesh Police’s Crime Investigation Department two days later after he allegedly confessed to the fraud, along with his brother Rama Raju and others.
Around 3,000 documents were marked and 226 witnesses examined during the trial that began nearly six years ago.
Beside Ramalinga Raju, the other accused are, his brother and Satyam’s former Managing Director B Rama Raju, former Chief Financial Officer Vadlamani Srinivas, former PwC auditors Subramani Gopalakrishnan and T Srinivas, Raju’s another brother B Suryanarayana Raju, former employees G Ramakrishna, D Venkatpathi Raju and Ch Srisailam and Satyam’s former internal chief auditor V S Prabhakar Gupta.
Raju and others were charged with offences like cheating, criminal conspiracy, forgery and breach of trust under relevant sections of IPC for inflating invoices and incomes, account falsification, faking fixed deposits, besides allegedly falsifying returns through violation of various Income Tax laws.
In February 2009, the CBI took over the investigation and filed three charge sheets (on April 7, 2009, November 24, 2009 and January 7, 2010), which were later clubbed into one.
The first two charge sheets dealt with the account fudging by Raju with the assistance of nine others, while the third charge sheet relates to “violation” of various Income Tax rules.
While the CBI accused Raju and the others of cheating, breach of trust by way of inflating invoices and incomes in the first and third charge sheets, the second one dealt with the accused allegedly falsifying returns through violation of various IT laws.
During the trial, the CBI alleged that the scam caused a loss of Rs. 14,000 crore to shareholders of Satyam, while the defence countered the charges saying the accused were not responsible for the fraud and all the documents filed by the central agency relating to the case were fabricated and not according to the law.
The Enforcement Directorate had also filed a charge sheet against them under Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
In January last year, Ramalinga Raju’s wife Nandini Raju and sons Teja Raju and Rama Raju were among 21 relatives of the ex-Satyam boss who were convicted by a Special Court for Economic Offences here for default in Income Tax payment.
Last year, on December 8, Ramalinga Raju, Rama Raju, Vadlamani Srinivas and former director Ram Mynampati were sentenced to six months jail term and fined by the Special Court for Economic Offences in connection with complaints filed by Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) for violation of various provisions of the Companies Act.