A special CBI court on Thursday pronounced its judgement in the multi-crore Satyam fraud case and convicted 10 people including the founder of Satyam Computer Services Limited (now Tech Mahindra) B Ramalinga Raju.
The CBI court announced the sentence at around 2:30pm. The 60-year-old founder, who had already spent 32 months in jail, was given seven-year jail term along with nine others. The court has also imposed a fine of ₹5 crore on Ramalinga Raju.
A CBI lawyer said that Ramalinga Raju and his brother Rama Raju were found guilty of criminal breach of trust, while eight others were found guilty of criminal conspiracy, IANS reported.
The rest of the accused are Ramalinga's another brother, B. Suryanarayana Raju, Satyam's former chief financial officer Vadlamani Srinivas, former PricewaterhouseCoopers auditors Subramani Gopalakrishnan and T. Srinivas, former employees G. Ramakrishna, D. Venkatpathi Raju and Ch. Srisailam, and Satyam's former internal chief auditor V.S. Prabhakar Gupta.
The Satyam scam of 2009 was worth ₹14,000 crore and is considered one of India's biggest accounting fraud.
The CBI court headed by Justice B V L N Chakravarthi had earlier scheduled to announce the verdict on 23 December last year but shifted it to 9 March, 2015 which was again postponed to 9 April.
Justice Chakravarthi cited the voluminous nature of the case to explain the delay. "You know the volume of the case. It requires some more time (to study). You may satisfy or not (with the outcome) but I must satisfy myself. Typing of the judgment itself will take two-three weeks," he said.
In all, the CBI filed three chargesheets that had 650 pages, apart from 3,000 supporting documents comprising 170,000 pages.
The Satyam Scam
The scam started to get to the surface in December 2008 but it became clear in 2009 when Ramalinga confessed to the fraud on 7 January. Two days after his confession, the police arrested both Ramalinga and his brother Rama Raju.
Soon after, the Central government came out with a stop-gap effort to save the company. Around a month later, on 16 February, the government ordered a CBI probe into the scam, Business Standard reported.
Two months later, the company was taken over by Tech Mahindra and named Mahindra Satyam to eventually merge with the acquirer.
The CBI probe led to charges against eight of the 10 accused, under Section 120 B (conspiracy), 420 (cheating), 467 (forgery of valuable security), 468 (forgery), 471 (forgery for cheating), 477 A (falsification of records) and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence) of the Indian Penal Code.
The then CBI deputy inspector-general VV Laxmi Narayan, who was heading the probe, brought together 800 officers from the CBI, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), Enforcement Directorate (ED), Income Tax department, Company Law Board (CLB), Registrar of Companies (RoC) and the Andhra Pradesh police's Criminal Investigation Department (APCID) to complete the investigation.