The Andhra High Court granted bail to Satyam Computer founder B. Ramalinga Raju, chief accused in perhaps the biggest scam in India’s corporate history, on Wednesday.
Justice Raja Elango granted bail on the plea of Raju's failing health despite a CBI plea that he might try to influence the 250-odd witnesses in the case.
Elango, however, directed Raju — accused of criminal conspiracy, breach of trust, cheating and forgery — not to leave Hyderabad and provide two sureties of R20 lakh each.
The volume of the fraud has not been officially quantified yet. Corporate Affairs Minis-ter Khurshid Alam recently said the amount would be known after CBI completed the probe.
Raju was arrested on January 7, 2009 after he admitted his guilt in a letter to the company's board. The company has since been taken over by the Mahindra group and renamed Mahindra Satyam.
Of his 19-month judicial custody, Raju spent hardly eight months in jail, before he was shifted to Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) in September last year. He is being treated for Hepatitis-C.
On whether, having obtained bail, Raju was likely to move out of the hospital to his luxurious bungalow, his lawyer Bharat Kumar said, "It's for his family to take a call."
An NIMS doctors said Raju was indeed seriously ill and if the treatment failed, he could contract liver cirrhosis.
The CBI has decided to approach the Supreme Court against the high court order.