The CID on Monday levelled serious allegations against auditors of Pricewaterhouse and its two Hyderabad partners S Gopalakrishnan and Srinivas Talluri by claiming that the company had no branch in Hyderabad and that these two had no connection with the firm.
Seeking a five-day police custody of Gopalakrishnan and Srinivas, CID's special public prosecutor K Ajay Kumar told sixth additional chief metropolitan magistrate D Ramakrishna that a prima facie case has been made against these two arrested auditors who were never a part of PW at any point of time. "They are only a part of a Delhi-based auditing firm Lovelock and Lewis," he said.
Kumar said the additional director general of CID has written to the director of ICAI to verify this aspect and for providing more information on the issue. "In order to know the deeper nexus between the arrested auditors, PW and the accused in this scam, the police custody of the auditors is very much essential," Kumar said, arguing that Pricewaterhouse and PricewaterhouseCoopers are two different entities.
Counsel for the auditors Cherukuri Mastan Naidu told the court that PricewaterhouseCoopers is not an auditing firm but a partnership firm dealing with Satyam. "Pricewaterhouse is an auditing firm which has its branch office at Jubilee Hills in Hyderabad which can be verified through the service tax it has been paying," he said.
According to the defence counsel, ICAI, a statutory body, has given a certificate to the effect that Pricewaterhouse has branches in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata. "There can be instances of a member of this body being partner in more than one firm which is an acceptable practice. The CID is seeking the custody of the auditors only to deny them their fundamental rights after keeping them in its custody for 11 days earlier. It is time for the court to set them free on bail," Naidu said.
The magistrate reserved his order on the CID custody petition for Tuesday. The bail petitions of Gopalakrishnan and Srinivas, moved by the counsel of the accused on Monday, will also come up on Tuesday. The bail petition of D Gopalakrishna Raju, the arrested GM of SRSR advisory services, too is slated to come up for hearing on Tuesday.