B. Ramalinga Raju, main accused in the multi-crore accounting fraud in the erstwhile Satyam Computers Limited, was granted conditional bail by Justice Raja Elango of the Andhra Pradesh High Court here on Wednesday.

The grant of bail comes 20 months after his arrest on January 9, 2009 following a confession letter he wrote to Satyam's Board of Directors two days earlier admitting fudging of accounts.

In the letter that sent shockwaves across industry and raised questions about corporate governance practices, Mr. Raju admitted to having inflated bank balances through non-existent cash. His contention was that a poor performance by the company would result in a takeover and expose the gap. “It was like riding a tiger, not knowing how to get off without being eaten,” Mr. Raju said.

The former Satyam chairman is under judicial custody in the Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences, where he is undergoing treatment for Hepatitis C since September last. Nine other accused in the case, including his brother and Satyam managing director B. Rama Raju, recently secured bail and were released from custody.

Justice Elango, while allowing Mr. Raju's bail petition, laid down conditions and gave prosecution the liberty to request for its cancellation if any of them were violated. He made it clear that Mr. Raju should stay in Hyderabad and report daily to the investigation officer after his discharge from the hospital.

He also ordered that the accused should appear without fail before the trial court, be available for further investigation and not indulge in tampering of evidence or influence witnesses. He was asked to execute two solvent sureties and bonds for Rs. 20 lakh each.