Satyam Computer Services Limited (now Mahindra Satyam) founder B. Ramalinga Raju is down, but definitely not out. Even after spending a couple of months under the benevolent gaze of jail staffers, his spirits are high enough to indulge in some very creative verbal jugglery.
The former infotech entrepreneur told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that he only “cooked the books” of the company but never “siphoned” off money. Now, this spin left us completely dumbstruck for a moment. Once we regained our composure, we ran around looking for our trusty old dictionary to find out the difference between “cooking the books” and “siphoning” off hard cash. We settled down only after it reassured us that Raju might have specialised in creative accounting but when it came to wordplay, he is hardly an ace. The idiom, as we all knew, means “to record false information in the accounts of an organisation, especially in order to steal money”. So without the ambition of doing the second, the first is more or less redundant.
So was Raju trying to say that he fudged the accounts to keep the shareholders happy and did not benefit from it? Er, and what about the Brothers Raju? Only in January this year, an adjudicating authority in New Delhi directed them to give up of 287 properties worth R170 crore and 34 lakh shares of the company with a market value of R36 crore. Did Raju have a magic wand considering he also invested huge amounts in his son’s company Maytas Infra?
Or maybe, just maybe he wants us to believe in the innate goodness of human beings: he did the window dressing of the accounts for the greater common good: let people earn even though I may get caught in time. It is a pity that we are such cynics!