The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) opposed in a court on Wednesday, the plea of B. Rama Raju and Srinivas Vadlamani, former Managing Director and Chief Financial Officer respectively of Satyam Computers, for access to computer laptops, on the ground that they could misuse them during their detention in jail. Except former chairman B. Ramalinga Raju who is in hospital, all the Satyam fraud accused were produced in the court of the Fourteenth Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate on the expiry of their judicial remand today. The remand was extended to November 26.

The court took up petitions of Mr. Rama Raju and Mr. Srinivas seeking access to laptops to enable them prepare pleadings and give instructions to their lawyers in the cases against them. However, the CBI expressed apprehensions that the two might use laptops to communicate with the outside world with the aid of Internet.

This would adversely affect prosecution and thereby defeat the very purpose of keeping the accused in judicial custody. The agency also pointed out that the accused resorted to computer-based offences which led to thousands of crores of rupees getting diverted to third parties from Satyam account. If they were provided laptops, they could chit-chat and send e-mails to witnesses who were yet to be examined.

As regards their plea to facilitate a medium to give instructions to lawyers, the CBI felt the jail authorities could be asked to provide them typewriters. Their request for laptops to browse the contents of the CDs filed along with the charge sheet need not be conceded because the agency was prepared to provide them hard copies of the material contained in CDs. The CBI submitted to the court charges against which it proposed to launch prosecution proceedings against the nine accused in the case. The deputy legal advisor of CBI Balla Ravindranath submitted a 36-page memo to the court which took up the matter on the directions of the High Court.

However, the defence counsels filed an adjournment petition seeking time to present their argument after the CBI filed the supplementary charge sheet later this month. The magistrate K. Sudhakar posted the case for November 26. The High Court while denying bail to Price Waterhouse auditor Talluri Srinivas recently asked the trial court to frame charges by December 6 and commence trial within three months after that.