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SC cancelled bail granted to B. Ramalinga Raju and five others
October, 27th 2010

The Supreme Court cancelled bail granted to B. Ramalinga Raju and five others, all accused of involvement in the Satyam Computer Services Ltd accounting fraud, after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) told the court they were interfering with the investigation.

The bench, comprising justices Dalveer Bhandari and Deepak Verma, gave Raju and the others until 8 November to surrender to the authorities. It also ordered that the trial in the lower court at Hyderabad be completed by 31 July 2011.

Raju was granted bail by the Andhra Pradesh High Court in August after being taken into custody in January 2009, soon after he confessed to the Rs.7,000 crore (now estimated at Rs.14,000 crore) accounting swindle through which he inflated Satyams profits and boosted its stock price.

The court did not record its reasons for cancelling bail as this could prejudice the trial pending in the lower court, said additional solicitor general Harin P. Raval. Though the Supreme Court does not normally interfere in bail cases, they are convinced that this is a fit case to interfere and they have cancelled bail, he said.

The CBI submitted to the apex court that Raju was attempting to get rid of his assets in anticipation of his conviction in the case. This was in violation of a prohibitory order issued by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) asking Raju and others to refrain from such activity.

The CBI also contended that Raju was pressuring witnesses, many of whom were his former employees, to hold back crucial evidence that might further implicate him and the others accused in the case.

Of the 19 months Raju spent in custody, he was hospitalised for about a year as he was reportedly diagnosed with a liver infection.

The CBI said previously that Raju was faking his illness in an attempt to avoid jail time and conviction in the trial. Raju made an appearance in the Hyderabad trial court on 24 August, his first since last September, when he purportedly fell ill.

Raju admitted to inflating profits that resulted in boosting the companys share price and enabled it to leverage credit from banks. The case against him, however, has carried the more serious charges of insider trading and embezzling public money on several counts.

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