Hyderabad: A special CBI court on Thursday sentenced B. Ramalinga Raju, his two brothers and seven others to seven years in prison in the multi-crore-rupee Satyam case, India’s biggest corporate fraud.
The court also imposed over Rs.5 crore fine each on 60-year-old Ramalinga Raju, the Satyam Computer Services Ltd’s founder and former chairman, and his brother B. Rama Raju and up to Rs.50 lakh each on the remaining accused, CBI counsel K. Surender said.
“Various sentences ranging from two years to seven years were imposed on all the accused but all the sentences would run concurrently. That is the reason the maximum sentence is seven years which they have to serve,” he told reporters.
The other accused are Ramalinga Raju’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.
Police were making arrangements for all the convicts to serve their sentences in Cherlapally Jail here.
Special Judge B.V.L.N. Chakravarthi of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court announced the quantum of punishment in the afternoon, hours after pronouncing all the accused guilty on various counts.
The much-awaited judgement in the packed court hall came in the presence of Ramalinga Raju and all the other accused.
The judge did not take into account the plea by the convicts for leniency in the punishment on grounds of their age, health and the problems faced by their families.
The accused told the judge that they have already spent more than two years in jail.
Ramalinga Raju, the main accused, also sought leniency on the ground of social service he had done in the past.
“They told the honourable judge that they and their families have faced a lot of hardships due to the case. They also brought to his notice that there was no loss to people (due to the fraud),” said Venkateswara Rao, one of the defence lawyers.
The CBI, however, sought maximum punishment, citing it as the biggest corporate fraud in the country and also on the ground of huge losses caused to the investors.
The scam came to light on January 7, 2009 when Ramalinga Raju confessed that the company’s account books and profits were inflated over many years to the tune of several crores of rupees.
Police arrested him two days later on a complaint by some shareholders.
The CBI, which took up investigation in February 2009, put the loss to the shareholders at Rs.14,000 crore.
The investigating agency also charged Raju with gaining Rs.2,500 crore by selling his family shares in Satyam.
Raju was charged with floating several front companies to buy land with the scam money. He was arrested by Andhra Pradesh Police on January 9, 2009.
The CBI filed three chargesheets against Raju and the other accused, charging them with cheating, criminal conspiracy, forgery, falsification of accounts and breach of trust.
The disgraced IT czar, who even shared the dais with then US president Bill Clinton during the latter’s visit to Hyderabad, spent nearly 32 months in jail.
Raju, who was released on bail in 2011, later retracted his confession and contended that all the charges levelled against him were false.
After the scam, Tech Mahindra took over Satyam Computers in a government-sponsored auction. Mahindra Satyam later merged with Tech Mahindra.
An economic offences court on December 8 last year sentenced Ramalinga Raju and three others to six months imprisonment in six of the seven cases filed by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO).