Two years after the disgraced founder and former chairman of Satyam Computer Services B Ramalinga Raju managed to get away from court proceedings in the US, the government is desperately trying to avoid a similar situation in India.
The finance ministry has asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which tracks overseas transactions and money-laundering deals, and the law ministry to approach the Supreme Court at the earliest to prevent the collapse of the Satyam case, HT has learnt.
The fraud, estimated at Rs 7,855 crore, is the biggest in India's corporate history.
The government has decided to shift the high-profile case from the chief metropolitan magistrate's (CMM) court in Hyderabad to a sessions court, which will have the powers to deal with money-laundering offences.
"The Supreme Court had in its order cancelling Raju's bail on October 27 directed the special CMM's court in Hyderabad to complete the trial by July 31. This may not be possible in the changed circumstances," a top government official told HT.
As reported earlier by HT, after cancellation of Raju's bail, the ED had questioned the CBI's decision to file a chargesheet in the CMM's court.
"The ED had rightly questioned the jurisdiction of the court as the relevant sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act of 2002 make it clear that such cases can only be heard in the special designated courts which have the powers of a sessions court," the finance ministry wrote to the law ministry earlier this week.
Following the dispute between the two investigating agencies, the law ministry had last month referred the matter to attorney general GE Vahanvati who agreed with the ED argument that the accused might get away in case the money-laundering case was not tried in a sessions court.
To prevent the case from collapsing, the government now faces a tricky situation of meeting the July 31 deadline set by the Supreme Court. The finance ministry has asked the law ministry and the two investigating agencies to decide the modalities of making a reference to the Supreme Court to explain the government's position.