In a biting criticism on Andhra Pradesh police's handling of the Satyam case, former Sebi chief M Damodaran on Saturday said the firm's founder Ramalinga Raju and other officials were in fact in "protective custody."
Damodaran, who demitted office as chairman of Securities and Exchange Board of India last year, suggested that there was no other way of looking at it given the weak resistance the police put up when the court sentenced Raju to judicial custody.
"Instead, the police happily handed over them (Raju, his brother Rama Raju) in judicial custody, so that Sebi needs to get court's permission first (to quiz them)," he said during a seminar at the IIM-A here.
When a Sebi probe team approached a magistrate court for permission to interrogate the Raju brothers, the petition was dismissed on technical grounds. As the AP High Court too did not give early relief, the regulator had to finally move the Supreme Court.
The Sebi team yesterday finished questioning the Raju brothers on the accounting fraud in Satyam Computer.
"This is what I call that Ramlinga Raju, his brother Rama Raju, and (former) Chief Financial Officer Valdamani Srinivas are in protective custody," Damodaran said.
"I don't know how the law will help when the state decides to provide protective custody," he asked.