Regulator continues probe into Satyam fraud | business | Hindustan Times
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Regulator continues probe into Satyam fraud

Special teams of Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on Friday continued their probe for the second day into the Rs 70-billion Satyam fraud.

business Updated: Jan 09, 2009 12:52 IST

Special teams of Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on Friday continued their probe for the second day into the Rs 70-billion Satyam fraud.

A three-member SEBI team headed by its southern regional manager A Sunil Kumar was checking the books at Satyam offices here and Bangalore, while another team was looking into the records of Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC), auditors of the scam-tainted company, at its Jubilee Hills office.

SEBI officials also talked to Satyam executives to verify Raju's statement, which he made on Wednesday while resigning as the firm's chairman.

The sensational confession by the chief of India's fourth largest IT services provider that the company cooked its books resulting in “inflated (non-existent) cash and bank balances” over several years has left thousands of investors and company employees in the lurch.

Satyam's interim chief executive Ram Mynampati confirmed that the SEBI team visited the Satyam office and spoke to associates. “We expect this process to continue for a few more days,” he told a news conference on Thursday evening.

It is not clear whether SEBI officials will question Ramalinga Raju, his brother B Rama Raju and V Srinivas, who resigned as managing director and chief financial officer respectively.

Meanwhile, rumours of Raju's imminent arrest continued for the third consecutive day, with television channels reporting that he was likely to be arrested soon following mounting pressure on the state government.

The police, however, maintain that they would take action only after receiving a complaint from shareholders or regulators. They have ruled out any action on their own on the basis of Raju's statement.

Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy has already ordered the criminal investigation department to "look at the criminal angle of the entire episode".

At Thursday's press conference, Mynampati also said the management was trying to establish the "veracity, legitimacy and accuracy" of Raju's statements. “We will take action only after we complete this process,” he said, while not ruling out filing a complaint against Raju.

Ending speculations on Raju's whereabouts, his lawyer, S Bharat Kumar, on Thursday said he was in Hyderabad and had no intention to avoid the process of law.

Kumar said Raju engaged his services to represent him in legal matters pertaining to his statement to the Satyam board on Wednesday.

“My client B Ramalinga Raju is very much available in Hyderabad,” he said in a statement and denied reports appearing in a section of media that he could have fled India.