A Rs 10,000-crore scam, a 16-member investigation team, a 65,000-page charge-sheet, nine accused, eight charges and one ‘brain’.All of these converged at a Hyderabad court on Tuesday when the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) submitted its charge-sheet declaring former Satyam chairman B. Ramalinga Raju as the brain behind the accounting scam that began in 2001.“We have charge-sheeted nine accused who were all equally involved in the criminal conspiracy behind the scam, but its brain was B. Ramalinga Raju,” CBI deputy inspector general V.V. Lakshmi Narayana, who headed its 16-member multi-disciplinary investigation team (MDIT) that cracked the case, told Hindustan Times.
They have been charged with, among other things, criminal conspiracy, forgery for the purpose of cheating, falsification of accounts and causing disappearance of evidence. “Raju, along with his brother and Satyam’s former managing director B. Ramaraju, and its former CFO Vadlamani Srinivas, were the chief operators of this scam,” said Narayana.Narayana detailed the modus operandi. “The accused, through their balance sheets, gave an impression that they were doing extremely well, when they were not,” he said. “This helped in roping in more foreign investment ... and more business partners.”
According to him, the accused also “jacked up their profits” to dupe Indian shareholders who rushed to buy company shares sold at inflated prices. “Raju and the other main operators of this scam would periodically offload their promoters’ shares,” he said. “They would forge their bank accounts papers, their bank statements.”
Apart from Narayana and his team, CBI director Ashwani Kumar interrogated Raju and the two other “main operators” during their custody with the agency.A spokesperson for PriceWaterhouse, whose two auditors — S. Gopalakrishnan and Talluri Srinivas — were also charge-sheeted, said, “PriceWaterhouse India is surprised and disappointed that the CBI has pressed charges against the two partners who worked on the audit of Satyam’s financial statements.
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India has very recently publicly confirmed that Satyam’s former CFO has made it clear to them that neither partner had anything to do with the fraud at Satyam.”The charge-sheet papers, packed in 25 trunks, were brought to the Nampally metropolitan court in Hyderabad in a mini van. While the charge-sheet itself is 300 pages long, the annexures run into 65,000 pages — making it the biggest such document in the country.