A special court trying the Satyam Computer Services accounting scam case involving founder B Ramalinga Raju and his brother here today refused to entertain pleas for a lenient view on the quantum of sentence, for “philanthropic activities”, citing that it was a grave offence affecting the reputation of the corporate system and the economy.
B Ramalinga Raju and his brother and former Managing Director B Rama Raju in their statements before the court narrated about the “philanthropic activities” done by them through agencies like Emergency Management Research Institute (EMRI 108 services) and Byrraju Foundation.
They further submitted that lakhs of people benefitted on account of their social service and prayed to the court to take a lenient view on quantum of sentence.
The other eight accused also prayed to the court to take a lenient view on the quantum of sentence citing various grounds including old age, ill-health and family depending on them.
Ramalinga Raju and nine others were sentenced to seven years’ rigorous imprisonment and were imposed fines in the multi-crore rupee accounting fraud case in erstwhile Satyam Computers Services Limited.
Special Judge B V L N Chakravarthi, in his order, said that considering the facts and circumstances of the case, nature and gravity of offence, he is of the opinion that the case involved economic offence having deep-rooted conspiracy causing huge loss of investor money which needs to be viewed seriously and considered it as a grave offence affecting the reputation of the corporate system of the country as a whole and the economy of the country.
“It is not a fit case either for invoking provisions of the Probation of Offenders Act or taking a lenient view on quantum of sentence,” the Special Judge said.
Quoting the observations of the Supreme Court in Dhananjay Chatterejee @ Dhana Vs. State of West Bengal reported in 1994, the special judge observed “imposition of appropriate punishment is the manner in which the courts respond to the society’s cry for justice against the criminals.”
“Justice demands that courts should impose punishment fitting to the crime so that the courts reflect public abhorrence of the crime. The courts must not only keep in view the rights of the criminal but also the rights of the victim of crime and the society at large while considering imposition of appropriate punishment,” he said.
K Surender, counsel for CBI, said the convicts requested the court for taking a lenient view but their pleas did not find favour with the court and, accordingly, the maximum sentence of seven years was given.
“Some of the convicts in their plea said family members are old… Ramalinga Raju was saying he was helping the society and so a lenient way has to be taken. However, the court did not consider it,” Surender said, adding, some convicts requested the court to consider them on the grounds of family issues.
Dr KVLN Raju, a close relative of Raju, said the founder of SCCL undertook many developmental works in many parts of Andhra Pradesh (before bifurcation).
“Ramalinga Raju was prepared for the worst. He used to say if the court convicts me, I am prepared to face the consequences,” KVLN Raju said after the judgement was delivered.
Another relative who did not wish to be quoted said many initiatives Raju had started in his native village Garagaparru in West Godavari district have come to a standstill since his arrest in January, 2009.
EMRI 108 services were handed over to GVK Group after Raju was arrested in January 2009.
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