The government will move court in day or two to seek permission to interrogate Satyam’s former chairman B Ramalinga Raju, now lodged in Hyderabad’s Chanchalguda Jail, as lack of access to him appears to have slowed down investigations into the country’s biggest corporate fraud.
“We’ll be moving court, most likely by tomorrow, to seek permission to interrogate Raju,” corporate affairs minister PC Gupta told Hindustan Times on Thursday, shortly after nominating three new members on the board of Satyam.
Separately, capital markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) too is seeking permission to interrogate Raju.
While the ministry of company affairs will question Raju on violations of the Companies Act, SEBI’s probe will focus on insider trading and market manipulation.
“We’re in touch with each other and working together on this,” said a senior SEBI official. On Wednesday, SEBI’s lawyer Pradyumana Kumar Reddy said Raju’s judicial custody was delaying the probe. “Whatever is required by the company will be done,” Gupta said while announcing the new directors. “But no financial assistance has been sought by the management so far.”
The three new directors are Tarun Das, chief mentor of industry body Confederation of Indian Industry; TN Manoharan, former president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India; Suryakant Balkrishna Mainak of Life Insurance Corporation of India, which has a stake of over 4 per cent in Satyam. They will join HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh, IT industry veteran Kiran Karnik and legal expert C Achutan to make a six-member board, which will meet on Saturday.
Raju has been taken into judicial custody till January 23. The government has handed over the probe into the Rs 7,000 crore scam to Serious Fraud Investigation Office, a multidisciplinary agency empowered to investigate major economic offences that have substantial regulatory and public interest.