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Raju's bail plea hearing on Jan 19

india Updated: Jan 17, 2009 11:49 IST
Hearing on Raju's bail plea posted for Jan 19

A city court on Friday posted hearing on Ramalinga Raju's bail petition to Monday, while reserving orders on separate pleas of the police and market regulator SEBI for interrogating the former Chairman of Satyam Computer.

Additional chief metropolitan magistrate D Ramakrishna, who heard the petitions filed by the police and SEBI seeking custody of Raju, his brother Rama Raju and Satyam's former CFO Vadlamani Srinivas, reserved the orders for January 17 and 19, respectively.

The police had sought custody of the three for seven days, while SEBI sought a day's custody to quiz them on 'buying, selling and dealing' in Satyam shares.

The bail petition could not be heard on Friday and was posted for hearing on Monday as arguments on the custody petitions stretched for over four-and-a-half hours.

Raju's counsel strongly opposed granting either police custody or SEBI custody, contending that there was no more material evidence to be collected from the accused.

"The CID has already recovered 44 documents from the house of Ramalinga Raju, while other important documents were seized from the Satyam offices both by CID and SEBI.

Moreover, the three accused are currently in judicial remand and are hence 'physically and legally' not in a position to present anything," the defence counsel argued.

Senior defence lawyer Prabhakar Reddy said it was the onus of the new Satyam board to answer any query related to finances of the company, while describing the SEBI petition as an effort to "show to India that they too are playing their role" in the case.

Reddy also quoted provisions of the SEBI Act under which the case itself was not maintainable and said that the so-called investigating officer's appointment was in contravention of statute.

Similarly, he contended that the police custody petition was also not admissible as the CID as well as SEBI authorities had already seized relevant documents.

"It is not an open-ended case as the CID could not show valid grounds for his police custody. Unless the police want to use third-degree measures to extract some more details, there was no need for police custody of the accused," defence counsel Prakash Reddy, Padmanabha Reddy and Nalin Kumar argued.

Public prosecutor appearing for CID, Anil Kumar, maintained it was a "monumental fraud" committed by the Rajus and Srinivas because of which several investors lost heavily.
Besides, there was suspicion that Ramalinga Raju diverted funds from Satyam and made benami investments elsewhere.

"To dig out the hidden truth, the police require at least a week's custody of the accused," the public prosecutor added.

He also said grant of police custody was essential to restore confidence in judiciary among the public.