Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The Union government on Thursday increased the strength of the three-member board of crisis-ridden Satyam Computer Services Limited to six by nominating CII Chief Mentor Tarun Das, chartered accountant T.N. Manoharan and Suryakant Balkrishna Mainak of the Life Insurance Corporation as the new directors. The expanded board is to meet on Saturday to take stock of the developments.

Announcing the appointment at a press conference here, Corporate Affairs Minister Prem Chand Gupta said the new directors would join Deepak Parekh, Kiran Karnik and C. Achutan to chart out the future course of action to salvage the Hyderabad-based IT major.

Mr. Gupta said that while the Board had engaged the services of two audit firms – Deloitte and KPMG – to look into the company’s accounts, the first impression of the three-member Board, after its maiden meeting, was that Satyam’s operations were sound and its major customers, by and large, were willing to remain with the company.

On a bail-out package for Satyam to meet its staff-related expenses, Mr. Gupta said: “The company has not asked for any package, they may not need that. They have not sent [request] for a package. If they require, they will raise it from banks.”

The Minister’s statement came even as Satyam’s former senior executive Ram Mynampati is understood to have sent an SoS to Economic Affairs Secretary Ashok Chawla, noting that Rs.150 crore was required to meet the health insurance liabilities of the company’s employees in the United States.

The controversy on whether the government is likely to bail out the company emanated from Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath’s statement a few days ago that the company was likely to be provided the required funds for the sake of the employees and other stakeholders.

“It is a private sector company. There is a Board in place which consists of eminent people. They know how to run a company... They have to work out how to finance the company’s operations,” Mr. Gupta said.

Earlier during the day also, Mr. Chawla pointed out that there were no immediate plans for a government bailout for Satyam. “Not at this stage,” he said.

Considering unnecessary speculation over the issue, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, according to PMO sources, has directed all his Cabinet colleagues not to discuss the matter as the spokesperson for Satyam affairs was solely the Corporate Affairs Minister.

The ICAI has objected to the KPMG handling the audit of Satyam as the firm was not registered with the chartered accountants’ organisation.

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