UK, Singapore respond to Letters Rogatory on Satyam scam

Hyderabad: In a development that will facilitate further unraveling of the multi-crore Satyam scam, the CBI has received a response from authorities in the UK and Singapore to Letters Rogatory (LOR) issued by the special court trying the main accused here, a senior officer said.

LORs — a formal request sent from the court of one country to a foreign court for judicial assistance — were sent to six countries: USA, UK, Belgium, British Virgin Islands, Mauritius and Singapore, seeking information in connection with Satyam case.

The CBI has alleged in its chargesheet that B Ramalinga Raju, the former chairman of the company and the prime accused in the scam, diverted funds to foreign countries.

"Singapore and UK gave interim LORs and asked us for some clarifications and we replied to them. The communication channel is open. We are confident that we may get replies from other countries too," the CBI official said on condition of anonymity.

The new management of Satyam Computers, under Tech Mahindra, had found that Raju and his aides fudged the accounts not only to show non-existent revenues and profits, but also to make money by getting some projects awarded to the company outside its accounting system and pocket the revenue.

Satyam`s management had said in a document released to explain the financial restatement last year that since only Ramalinga Raju and his brother Rama Raju (who was then managing director) had signatory powers on most bank accounts, it was possible that there were undisclosed bank accounts in foreign countries in which funds could have been diverted. The CBI is confident that prosecution proceedings in the trial will be completed by April, the official said.

The agency expects that the trial will be over by July 31, as directed by the Supreme Court. The number of total witnesses — 690 as per the chargesheet — will be whittled down to less than 300, the official said.

The special court here trying the case is currently recording the statements of witnesses produced by the CBI.

"We are reducing the list of witnesses. Only important witnesses are being produced in the court. So far 110 witnesses are completed. And 170 to 180 witnesses were dropped," the official said.

While cancelling the bail granted to B Ramalinga Raju, the Supreme Court last year directed the trial court to conclude its proceedings by July, 2011.

The apex court also pulled up the CBI for filing a bulky chargesheet and for adding too many witnesses.

Now, the number of documents has been reduced from the original 3,067 to just over 1,000.