Did Satyam Computers chairman B Ramalinga Raju, lodged in Chanchalguda jail, choose to confess about his alleged financial bungling to avoid appearing before a court in the US fearing arrest?
<b1>Raju, his brother Ram Raju and former CFO Srinivas Vadlamani, were to appear before the Texas District Court to defend themselves against charges of fraud, forgery and breach of contract filed by a British mobile solution firm Upaid.
The trio was directed to appear before the court on January 8, a day after Raju’s stunning confessions unravelling India’s biggest corporate fraud. A lawyer, instead, represented them as all of them went into hiding.
Upaid has already won the case in a lower court, against which Satyam has appealed in a higher court.
Legal experts say Raju and his accomplices could be jailed for at least 25 years under the US law for the offences they are alleged to have committed, if they lose the appeal.
The only way he could have escaped being transported to the US was if there was a case in India against him, which needed presence in Indian courts, experts said.
"The confession based on partial truth seems to be a deliberate attempt to avoid a long sentence in an American jail,” said corporate law expert B Sai Chandravadhan.
Former Chief Justice of India P.N. Bhagwati said unlike in India, a jail term in the US does not run concurrently — the term for each offence has to be served separately. “It appears the confessional statement in India was in anticipation to the jail term that awaits him in America,” Bhagwati said. “He seems to have acted on legal advice.”
An Indo-US extradition treaty, signed in 1997, makes it impossible for Raju to escape the jail term there. Legal experts said it remains to be seen how far his delaying tactics, if correct, would succeed.