Satyam scam: HC asks Sebi not to begin independent investigation

Written by fe Bureau | Mumbai | Updated: Feb 28 2012, 09:29am hrs
In partial relief to two accused in the multi-crore Satyam scam, the Bombay High Court on Monday directed the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) not to begin its independent inquiry into the controversy until May 7.

The court's direction came after the two auditors alleged to be involved in the scam, S Gopalakrishnan and Talluri Srinivas, moved a petition demanding that Sebi should be restrained from holding its own inquiry while criminal proceedings are on against them.

Arguing for the petitioners before a division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Ranjit More, senior lawyer Fredun De Vitre contended that appearing before SEBI could adversely affect their defence in the ongoing criminal trial.

However, appearing for SEBI, Advocate General Ravi Kadam said that the agency cannot wait indefinitely and that this could harm the interests of investors.

The judges, in their order, also directed that if the criminal trial continues after May 7, then SEBI should ensure that the dates of its inquiry and of the trial case do not clash with each other.

The judges also allowed both petitioners to dispose of shares other than in Satyam, provided they inform SEBI within one week.

However, a demand to hold the inquiry in Hyderabad rather than in Mumbai was rejected by the judges.

The court, however, noted that all arguments about the criminal involvement about the accused were kept open for the trial court to decide.

The controversy involving the software services firm came to light when its chairman Ramalinga Raju confessed than there had been falsification of accounts in January 2009. The falsification is said to have begun in the year 2001.