Apex court cancels bail of Satyam’s Raju, five others

New Delhi, Oct 26 (Calcutta Tube) The Supreme Court Tuesday cancelled the bail of Satyam Computer Services Limited (SCSL) founder B. Ramalinga Raju, his brother B. Rama Raju and four other accused in the multi-crore rupee accounting scam.

The apex court bench of Justice Dalveer Bhandari and Justice Deepak Verma cancelled the bail of Ramalinga Raju and five others after hearing counsel of defence and prosecution for two and a half days spread over a period of two weeks.

Besides Ramalinga Raju and Rama Raju, the other four are: Vadlamani Srinivas, G. Ramakrishna, D. Venkatapati Raju and Srisailam Chetkuru. All the four were senior executives of the SCSL.

The court directed Ramalinga Raju and five others to surrender before the trial court by Nov 8.

The bail was cancelled by the apex court on an appeal by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The court asked the trial court to complete the trial by July 31, 2011.

It further said that in case the trial was not completed by July 31, 2011, then Ramalinga Raju and other accused would be at liberty to approach the Andhara Pradesh High Court for bail.

The CBI had challenged a high court order granting bail to Ramalinga Raju Aug 18. The other five had got bail from the high court July 20.

The CBI told the apex court that it feared that Ramalinga Raju and others could tamper with the evidence and influence witnesses.

Ramalinga Raju and the five others were arrested on the charge of fudging the company’s accounts.

The CBI has filed three charge sheets in the case on which trial would take place. The trial is expected to commence Nov 2.

The CBI is still awaiting response to letter rogatory sent to six countries.

Opposing the CBI plea, a battery of senior counsel representing Raju and his assoiates told the apex court that there was nothing in the investigating agency’s appeal which could point to the violation of bail conditionality by the accused.

Senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi told the court that if the investigating agency had any material to support its contention, it should have moved the high court which granted bail to the accused.

Rohtagi said that in the matter of grant of bail, the decision of the high court is generally treated as final and only in exceptional cases the apex court intervened to reverse high court orders.

He said that there was nothing exceptional warranting interference by the apex court in this case.

Senior counsel Altaf Ahmed said that the CBI assertion that the trial in the case would be over within six months was far from reality. He said there were 693 witnesses in the case.

‘Even if we take half of them and it takes two days in the deposition and cross examination of one witness, it would take a minimum of two years before the trial can be completed, he pointed out.

Senior counsel Dushyant Dave, appearing for one of the former executives, said that the investigating agency was targeting businessmen who were creating wealth for the country.

Dave told the court that losses suffered by investors in the speculative market could not be termed as breach of trust.

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