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Satyam auditors asked to appear before SEBI on Feb 5
January, 19th 2011

Market regulator SEBI on Tuesday refused to stay proceedings against Price Waterhouse (PW) partners S Gopalakrishan and Srinivas Talluri for their alleged involvement in the Satyam fraud case and asked them to appear before it on February 5.

SEBI had issued a show-cause notice to the partners of PW in the Satyam case in February 2009 but could not proceed with the case. Rejecting the contention of the two chartered accountants that similar proceedings by Sebi and CBI cannot go together, the market regulator said in its order "the hearing of the show cause notices shall proceed on merits.

"... The next hearing of the matter is fixed on February 5, 2011 ... The hearing has been fixed on Saturday as the noticees have pointed out that the hearing of the criminal trial is proceeding on day to day basis and that they are required to remain present at the trial each day," it said.

SEBI had issued a show cause notice to PW, the Indian arm of international audit firm, asking them to explain its role in the Satyam scam as it was associated with the company for several years.

The order further said two years have passed since the showcause notice was issued and "we have not moved an inch." If the submission of the noticees are accepted, it would have the effect of unduly delaying, and, therefore, frustrating the present proceedings.

The Satyam case, it said, "involves an unprecedented fraud which had a devastating impact on the securities market and caused enormous loss to lakhs of investors. It is necessary that such cases be decided as expeditiously as possible and not unduly delayed. It would cause severe prejudice to the interests of investors, if the present proceedings are delayed any further."

Satyam case pertains to fudging of accounts to the tune of Rs 10,000 crore by its founder Chairman B Ramalinga Raju. It came to light after Raju confessed window dressing of balance sheet in January 2009. The company was later taken over by Tech Mahindra and has been renamed as Mahindra Satyam.

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