A special CBI court on Thursday found B. Ramalinga Raju, his two brothers and seven others guilty in the multi-crore Satyam case, the biggest corporate fraud which stunned the corporate world in 2009.
Ramalinga Raju, Satyam Computer Services Ltd’s founder and former chairman, and his brother B. Rama Raju were found guilty of criminal breach of trust, a CBI lawyer said.
Eight others were declared guilty of criminal conspiracy in the country’s biggest accounting fraud.
These eight accused are Ramalinga Raju’s another brother, B. Suryanarayana Raju, Satyam’s former chief financial officer Vadlamani Srinivas, former PricewaterhouseCoopers auditors Subramani Gopalakrishnan and T. Srinivas, former employees G. Ramakrishna, D. Venkatpathi Raju and Ch. Srisailam, and Satyam’s former internal chief auditor VS Prabhakar Gupta.
Special Judge BVLN Chakravarthi of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court pronounced the much awaited judgement in the packed court hall in the presence of 60-year-old Ramalinga Raju and all the other accused.
The judge is likely to announce the sentence at 2.30 p.m.
Lawyers said the convicts may be sentenced for two to 10 years.
Venkateswara Rao, one of the defence counsels, told reporters that the judge wanted to know from Ramalinga Raju and others if they have to say anything. The accused pleaded for minimum sentence on grounds of health and the problems faced by their families as they have already spent more than two years in jail.
"They told the honourable judge that they and their families faced lot of hardships due to the case. They also brought to his notice that there was no loss to people (due to the fraud)," he said.
Media persons were barred from the court room.
The scam came to light on January 7, 2009 when Ramalinga Raju confessed that the company’s account books and profits were inflated over many years to the tune of several crores of rupees.
The police arrested him two days later on a complaint by some shareholders.
The CBI, which took up investigations in February 2009, put the loss to the shareholders at Rs.14,000 crore. The investigating agency also charged Raju with gaining Rs.2,500 crore by selling his family shares in Satyam.
Raju was charged with floating several front companies to buy land with the scam money. He was arrested by the Andhra Pradesh Police on January 9, 2009.
The CBI, which later took up the investigation, filed three chargesheets against Raju and the other accused, charging them with cheating, criminal conspiracy, forgery, falsification of accounts and breach of trust.
The disgraced IT czar, who even shared dais with then US President Bill Clinton during the latter’s visit to Hyderabad, spent nearly 32 months in jail. Raju, who was released on bail in 2011, later retracted his confession and contended that all the charges levelled against him were false.
After the scam, Tech Mahindra took over Satyam Computers in a government sponsored auction. Mahindra Satyam later merged with Tech Mahindra.
An economic offences court on December 8 last year sentenced Ramalinga Raju and three others to six months imprisonment in six of the seven cases filed by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO).