Corporate leaders and lawyers termed the verdict by a court in Hyderabad that convicted erstwhile Satyam chief B Ramalinga Raju and nine others in the Rs 7,000-crore fraud as a ‘wake-up call’ and said it is a big message for India Inc that boards should take governance very seriously.
“The big message for India Inc is that the boards should take (corporate) governance very seriously, and to spend more time with the management…I think all of them have to take it as a wake up call, learn from the past mistakes and make sure that this kind of event never occurs in India again,” former Infosys CFO V Balakrishnan said.
He further said: “It’s a good wake up call not only for boards and auditors but also for regulators because regulation has also failed. We need better regulations in this country. We need to fast track situations in these kind of cases, it took 6 years…”
Expressing similar views, Chairman of Manipal Global Education, T V Mohandas Pai said: “It has taken six years in a dynamic economy, (that) is too much (but) six years is much, much better than what was done earlier. We have come a long long way and this is very good news. Next time we have any such scandal, wish we can prosecute in 2-3 years”.
On the quantum of punishment, Pai said, “the punishment should have been stricter.”
Industry chamber Assocham, however said the Satyam case is only an aberration because most of India Inc respects corporate governance.
“Though the Satyam-like situation may occur anywhere in the world, the way the company was reviewed authenticates that the Indian system is quite strong to face such challenges,” the industry chamber said.
Noted lawyer Harish Salve said the case has taken long as “we do not have the infrastructure in our courts to deal with these kind of cases”.
He added: “It has shown that even if it takes time, we are now matured enough to deal with these kind of complex cases of corporate fraud and investigate them thoroughly and arrive at verdict.”
Another leading lawyer KTS Tulsi said this is one of the first major crimes in the electronic age and all business houses needed to understand that electronic evidence leaves enough foot print for the investigative agencies to be able to dig up the entire character which is unimpeachable.
Stating that the “landmark judgement” was on the expected lines, Former SEBI Executive Director JN Gupta said “it will make sure that in future such things are brought to justice.”
He, however, lamented that it has taken too long for the verdict to come.
Expressing similar sentiments, another ex-SEBI Executive Director PR Ramesh, said while the order is good, but it “came in quite late”.