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Raju cooked up employee numbers

A magistrate court on Thursday extended the police custody of Satyam's tainted founder Ramalinga Raju and its former CFO Vadlamani Srinivas by a day. Special Coverage | Listen to podcast

business Updated: Jan 23, 2009 00:43 IST
Ashok Das

When Ram Mynampati, named acting CEO by Ramalinga Raju after he quit, was asked on January 8 as to why one would believe that there were 53,000 employees on Satyam’s rolls, he said he was swearing by the number.

Now it appears even that number was fictitious.

Public prosecutor K. Ajay Kumar, appearing for Crime Branch-Criminal Investigation Department (CB-CID), told a local court that during interrogation, Raju had confessed to cooking employee numbers. He said Raju told officials that there were just 40,000 employees working with Satyam, even though the official rolls showed a headcount of more than 53,000.

The inflated numbers allegedly allowed Raju to draw Rs 20 crore a month from Satyam in staff salaries. This is part of the more than Rs 7,000 crore that he is alleged to have siphoned out of the company. It could have to gone into financing purchases by Maytas Properties.

But Raju’s counsel S. Bharat Kumar denied his client had “made any such confession.” Kumar said the accusations would not stand in a court of law.

“Our advocates were present throughout the interrogation and no such questions about diversion of funds were asked or answered by our client,” Raju’s counsel said.

However, a CID official said: “There could be 10,000 fictitious employees, though our preliminary probe suggests that there are at least 6,000 fictitious salary accounts.”

Apart from cooking employee numbers, Raju also admitted to fudging accounts, manipulation of records, transfer of shares and benaami transactions, said Kumar.

The CB-CID claimed that Raju reportedly admitted to purchasing thousands of acres of land and revealed at least 400 benami transactions.

Meanwhile, a local court on Thursday extended Raju and former CFO Srinivas Vadlamani’s police custody by another day. It will end at 4 p.m. on Friday.

Ramalinga Raju’s brother and former Satyam MD B.Rama Raju, however, was sent to Chanchalguda jail as the police did not seek extension of his custody.

CB-CID source said that one team of officials was scrutinising all the bank accounts in the name of Raju and his family members. The team has asked half a dozen banks to clarify whether the FD documents found during searches were fictitious as well.