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Large I-T team to look into Satyam fraud
February, 07th 2009

The Income-Tax department has mobilised a large number of staff members from its local offices for a comprehensive investigation into the fraud in Satyam Computers.

A top official said the staff will join duty in a day or two following the IT Chief Commissioners orders earlier this week. He said the investigations would not be a routine scrutiny but go deep into various issues. The department procured 400 more files of the company for scrutiny.

As many as six Commissioners had been appointed to oversee the process of centralisation of Income-Tax cases connected with 320 companies of Satyam group. Every assessment was being monitored by an Additional Commissioner who had put in no less than 15 years of service.

The investigation was focussed on how the fraud was committed, strategy employed and where money was siphoned off. The persons who planned and implemented the scandal were also being tracked down with precise dates. The cash and bank balances were checked with bank statements. He also said assessment year 2007-08 was the most crucial year of investigation since most of the companies promoted by Satyam group, especially those involved in land transactions, were floated in that year.

Meanwhile, Director General of Income-Tax (Investigation) Amalendu Das has said the department would reopen tax assessments of Satyam Computers in the previous years if the findings revealed that its income had escaped tax on account of the fraud in the company. According to the IT Act, the department can reopen assessment of Satyam for the assessment years 2002-03 to 2007-08 if its findings disclosed evasion of tax, he said.

One area that the department had focussed in detection of loss of income was whether any fictitious or inflated tax deduction at source (TDS) claims were made by Satyam Computers in previous years on non-existing fixed deposits. A suspicion about such claims was triggered by Satyams balance sheet on September 30 indicating a non-existent interest accrual of Rs. 374 crore from conjured up bank deposits.

Granted bail

A court on Friday granted bail to D. Gopalakrishnam Raju, general manager of SRSR Advisory Services, who was arrested in connection with the fraud. He was said to be a trusted man of former Satyam chairman B. Ramalinga Raju and was instrumental in the land deals. The Securities and Exchange Board of India concluded its three-day interrogation of Mr. Ramalinga Raju and his brother Rama Raju in jail. Two teams of SEBI questioned them separately following permission granted by the Supreme Court.

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