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New York in Rs 1,733-cr siphon link

india Updated: Feb 09, 2009 21:03 IST
Mahua Venkatesh
Mahua Venkatesh
Hindustan Times
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Investigations into the Satyam Computer Services fraud case have now touched New York.

The Serious Frauds Investigation Office (SFIO), which is probing the scam, has found out a reference to Rs 1,733 crore claimed to have been deposited at the company’s Bank of Baroda (BoB) account in New York. But the amount simply does not exist. Was the money siphoned off?

The SFIO sleuths had got hold of documents suggesting the presence of the amount, but a probe showed it was just a false claim.

Banking sources said that it is yet to be ascertained whether or not the money was siphoned off from the branch. A possibility of false information by the disgraced and deposed founder- chairman B Ramalinga Raju cannot be ruled out at this point, a source familiar with the investigations said.

When contacted, M. D Mallya, chairman and managing director of BoB, refused to comment and said the issue was yet to be brought to his notice.

Authorities have also come across another such alleged transaction running into several hundreds of crores of rupees with a multi-national bank.

Preliminary findings suggest that the IT firm had several accounts in as many as 17 countries. This helped Raju to divert funds from Satyam and invest in firms and bank accounts in these countries.

Raju, by his own admission, has been fudging accounts since 2002 by inflating profits. He also forged bank certificates to substantiate non-existent fixed deposits to the tune of Rs 3,300 crore in six banks.

Investigations also revealed that Raju and his family had used ‘benami’ bank accounts (held by people fronting for the family) to move money around. Investigators are seeking information on Satyam’s bank accounts, investments and properties in foreign countries.

Satyam had accounts with HSBC, HDFC Bank, Citibank, BNP Paribas and ICICI Bank apart from BoB.

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