All the Central investigating agencies have now swung into action by petitioning a city court to grant them permission to question in jail the accused in the Satyam fraud.
The Income-Tax Department on Monday petitioned the court to allow it to interrogate the former chairman of Satyam Computer Services, B. Ramalinga Raju, alone. The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) again moved the court with a similar appeal.
This time SEBI wants to question the former Chief Financial Officer, Srinivas Vadlamani, and Price Waterhouse auditors S. Gopalakrishnan and Talluri Srinivas. It was only last week did SEBI interrogate Mr. Ramalinga Raju and his brother Rama Raju in jail following the orders of the Supreme Court.
The Sixth Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, D. Ramakrishna, posted the requests of the Income-Tax Department and SEBI for hearing on Friday. He will also hear that day another petition by a consumer activist C.V.L. Narasimha Rao seeking to assist the prosecution since the interests of lakhs of shareholders were involved.
The request of the Serious Fraud Investigation Office to interrogate the Raju brothers, Mr. Vadlamani and the auditors has already been posted for hearing in the same court on Tuesday, when the bail pleas of the auditors would also be taken up.
Sources said a meeting of the Committee of Secretaries constituted to go into issues emerging from the Satyam fraud would be held in New Delhi on Tuesday.
A team of senior officials of the Ministry of Home arrived here reportedly to iron out differences between the Central investigating agencies and the Crime Investigation Department of the Andhra Pradesh police in the matter of access to records of Satyam in the latters possession.
The officials were said to have been sent here following complaints by the Central agencies that they were denied access to nearly 200 trunkloads of records and some computers seized by the CID during searches in Satyam offices and residences of the companys former bosses.
The sources said investigation by the I-T Department revealed that the Satyam promoters planned tax payment in such a way that only a few crore rupees of security transaction tax was paid over the sale of hundreds of crores of shares. The liability on capital gains was also kept to the minimum.
The promoter-directors sold their shares through intermediaries over a period so as not to create panic in the market. They did this to reduce their share holding in Satyam with lesser risk.