Satyam verdict: Ramalinga Raju sentenced to 7 years in jail; 9 others found guilty

The court has also imposed a penalty of Rs 5 crore each on Raju and his younger brother while imposing Rs 25 lakh each penalty on eight other accused.

Satyam founder Ramalinga Raju Satyam founder Ramalinga Raju

A special CBI court has found B Ramalinga Raju, his brother Rama Raju and eight others guilty in the multi-crore Satyam scam. All the accused, including Ramalinga Raju and Rama Raju have been sentenced to seven years rigorous imprisonment.

Additionally, Ramalinga Raju and Rama Raju are to pay Rs 5 crore each in fines. After the pronouncement of the judgement, arrest warrants were being prepared and all the 10 convicted are to be taken to the Cherlapally jail in Hyderabad. All the 10 have, however, chosen to appeal to the Sessions court in Nampally in Hyderabad and seek a stay on the CBI court order.

Touted as the country's biggest accounting fraud, the scam had come to light on January 7, 2009, after the firm's founder and then chairman Raju allegedly confessed to manipulating his company's account books and inflating profits over many years to the tune of crores of rupees.

Besides Ramalinga Raju and his brother Rama Raju, the others accused are - Vadlamani Srinivas, former PwC auditors Subramani Gopalakrishnan and T. Srinivas, Suryanarayana Raju, former employees G. Ramakrishna, D. Venkatpathi Raju and Ch Srisailam, and Satyam's former internal chief auditor V.S. Prabhakar Gupta.

In a case that has run for nearly six years, all the ten have been accused under 120B (criminal conspiracy) and section 420 (cheating). Apart from that, as per details shared with Business Today by CBI officials, the accused were convicted as below:

- B. Ramalinga Raju and B Rama Raju convicted u/s 409 (criminal breach of trust by merchant or agent);
- Vadlamani Srinivas, S. Gopalakrishnan, Talluri Srinivas and G. Ramakrishna u/s 406 (criminal breach of trust);
- S. Gopalakrishnan, Talluri Srinivas and G. Ramakrishna u/s 419 (impersonation);
- B. Ramalinga Raju, Rama Raju, Vadlamani Srinivas, S. Gopalakrishnan, Talluri Srinivas, G. Ramakrishna, G. Venkatapati Raju and Ch Srisailam convicted u/s 467, 468, 471, 477-A (forgery, using forged documents as genuine, and fudging of accounts);
- And, B. Ramalinga Raju and G. Ramakrishna convicted u/s 201 (destruction of evidence).
- Around 3,000 documents were marked and 226 witnesses examined during the trial that began nearly six years ago.

Raju, his brother, former CFO Srinivas Vadlamani and the other accused were all present in court.

Before the punishment was announced, Price Waterhouse, Bangalore, had commented: "We are disappointed with this verdict given by the court of Hon'ble Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate at Hyderabad. As we have said many times, there has never been any evidence presented that either of our former partners S. Gopalakrishnan or Srinivas Talluri were involved in or were aware of the management-led fraud at Satyam. We understand that Gopal and Talluri are considering filing an appeal against this verdict."

Investigators say the fraud cost the company's shareholders $2.28 billion.

A year after the scandal erupted in 2009, Tech Mahindra, a unit of the Mahindra Group, bought a majority stake in the company for $351 million and changed its name to Mahindra Satyam.

(With inputs from agencies)