A metropolitan sessions court here on Monday granted bail to former Satyam Computers chairman B. Ramalinga Raju and nine others, who were on April 9 convicted to seven years rigorous imprisonment by the trial court in the Rs. 7,000 crore case of accounting fraud against the company.
The accused had moved the sessions court against the order of a magistrate court which was exclusively set up to hear the case. They appealed to the sessions court to set aside the order and release them on bail pending further hearing on the merits of the case.
While granting them bail, the sessions Judge M. Laxman ordered Ramalinga Raju and others to deposit within a month 10 per cent of the Rs. 14 crore fine imposed on them by the lower court when they were sentenced. Ramalinga Raju and his brother Rama Raju, ex-managing director, were also asked to furnish sureties of Rs. 1 lakh each for release on bail, but the amount was restricted to Rs. 50,000 in the case of others. The share of the brothers in the fine amount is Rs. 11.5 crore. Mr. Laxman posted the appeal for hearing in the case to June 30.
Ramalinga Raju and Rama Raju apart, the others lodged in Cherlapally jail after they were convicted are Srinivas Vadlamani (chief financial officer), S. Gopalakrishnan and Talluri Srinivas (partners of Price Waterhouse which audited Satyam accounts), Suryanarayana Raju (another brother of Ramalinga Raju, who was the director of the holding company of Satyam), G. Ramakrishna (vice-president), D. Venkatapathi Raju (senior manager), C. Srisailam (assistant manager) and Prabhakar Gupta (global head-internal audit).
The sessions’ court had heard the appeal of the accused last week that they should be given bail because the hearing in the case is likely to prolong in view of voluminous documents involved. They had either been lodged in jail or frequented courts in the last six years. Of the seven-year imprisonment awarded to Ramalinga Raju, he might have to spend another two-and-a-half years in jail if the conviction was carried out. But the hearing itself might take four years. It will serve no purpose if the judgement went in favour of the accused at the end of the arguments. They also contented that they were in no position to pay the fine as various investigating agencies froze their accounts or attached properties. Therefore, they should be given relief from payment of fine.
This was the third attempt of the accused laying claim for right of appeal against the conviction after another sessions court and the High Court refused to look into their applications.