Satyam's Ramalinga Raju, 9 others get bail, sentences suspended by court

Hyderabad: A metropolitan sessions court here today granted bail to Satyam Computers founder B Ramalinga Raju and nine others and suspended their seven-year rigorous imprisonment sentence in the multi-crore rupee accounting fraud in the erstwhile IT firm. 

They had been taken into custody barely a month ago after the conviction in the trial court.

ALSO READ: How the Satyam drama enfolded; chronology of events

M Laxman, special judge for economic offences, said the execution of "substantive and default" sentence is suspended for Raju and his brother and then managing director of Satyam, B Rama Raju, on furnishing of personal bonds of Rs one lakh each and two sureties of the like sum.

"They shall also pay one tenth of fine amount within four weeks from the date of release on bail before the primary court (trial court), failing which they must undergo default sentence," the judge said in the order.

With regard to eight others, the court suspended their sentences and granted them bail on execution of personal bonds of Rs 50,000 each and two sureties of like sum each.

They too were directed to pay one tenth of the fine amount within four weeks from the date of release.

Raju, the main accused, and others, currently lodged in Cherlapally Central Prison, had filed appeals in the sessions court last week, challenging conviction and the sentences awarded by the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court (ACMM) in the over Rs 7,000-crore scandal which came to light in 2009.

On April 9, the ACMM court, which tried the Satyam case probed by CBI, had sentenced Raju and others to seven years' rigorous imprisonment for criminal conspiracy and cheating among other offences.

It also imposed Rs 5.35 crore fine on Raju and Rama Raju, while others were fined Rs 25 lakh each. Raju and other convicts were asked to give an undertaking to cooperate for early disposal of the appeals without seeking undue adjournments. In the event of failure, the judge said, 

The prosecution can apply for revocation of suspension of sentences.

The defence lawyers argued earlier that Raju and other convicts had already served a substantial part of their jail sentences as they had spent about 35 months in jail during the investigation and trial, so the sentences could be suspended for now. 

The defence also contended that fines imposed by the trial court were "exorbitant" their clients had no source of income, their bank accounts had been frozen by CBI and properties attached by Enforcement Directorate, so they were unable to pay the fines.

CBI's special prosecutor K Surender said the plea for suspension of the sentence was almost like seeking suspension of the judgement of the trial court, which was permissible only in special circumstances. No such circumstances existed in this case, he argued.

"The act of Raju and others in fabricating documents of the erstwhile Satyam Computer Services Ltd (SCSL) over several years caused loss to the investors to the tune of several thousands of crores of rupees," the prosecutor said, claiming that the accused did have the means to pay the fine.

The court would hear next month the appeals filed by Raju and the nine others against their conviction.

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