The YS Rajasekhar Reddy government in Andhra Pradesh on Monday finally issued an order (GO 13) to hand over the investigations into the fraud at Satyam Computer Services to the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI).
There had been allegations that the state’s Crime Branch-Criminal Investigation Department (CB-CID), which has been in charge of the probe, has been going easy on the investigations due to political pressure from senior politicians.
The state government immediately informed the Andhra Pradesh High Court of its decision and handed over a copy of the order to the court. It also forwarded copies of the GO to the Prime Minister’s Office and the ministry of personnel affairs.
With this, Reddy has deftly lobbed the ball into the the court of the Manmohan Singh government at the Centre, which will now have to accept the state government’s offer and issue an order mandating the CBI to go ahead with the probe.
The move to hand over the case to the CBI comes exactly 40 days after former Satyam chairman B Ramalinga Raju wrote to the company’s directors and the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) admitted that he had been cooking Satyam’s accounts for years.
On two earlier occasions, too, the Chief Minister had written to the Prime Minister seeking a CBI probe. However, he had added a caveat — the probe, he had said, could be ordered if the Centre deemed it necessary.
What finally forced Reddy’s hands was the severe criticism he faced within the ruling Congress. Senior central and state leaders were worried that that media reports about alleged financial dealings between the Raju family and companies associated with the Chief Minister’s family could prove costly at the elections.
Meanwhile, a local court dismissed the bail petition of the two arrested Pricewaterhouse auditors, S Gopalkrishna and T. Srinivas. The court also posted an Income Tax department petition to question the Rajus for concealment of income to February.