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Raju's lawyer objects to Sebi interrogation

February 04, 2009 17:59 IST

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Counsel for Satyam [Get Quote] Computer's founder B Ramalinga Raju on Wednesday objected to the manner in which market regulator Sebi was conducting the interrogation, saying his client was not allowed to have any legal assistance, and also threatened to challenge the process in the Supreme Court.

Following the Supreme Court's order on Tuesday, a 5-member team from Sebi, headed by its south zone general manager Sunil Kumar, visited the Chanchalguda jail in Hyderabad on Wednesday to grill Raju, his brother and former managing director Rama Raju and former chief financial officer Vadlamani Srinivas.

"I tried to meet Sunil Kumar, the investigating officer, to make a request for providing legal assistance to my client during the recording of the statement," S Bharat Kumar, Raju's lawyer told reporters outside the jail.

"However, Sunil Kumar refused to meet me and this issue we will surely take to the notice of the Supreme Court," the lawyer said.

He said that the Raju brothers did not have any legal assistance as they were lodged in the prison. Also, they did not have any records to present their perspective of the case.

"The jail atmosphere is not conducive to make any voluntary statements. We will question the validity of the statements extracted in confinement," Bharath Kumar said.

The Sebi team went inside the prison at around 9.45 am to begin the interrogation into India's biggest corporate fraud of Rs 7,800 crore, but did not speak to waiting media persons.

The Supreme Court has given three days of time, beginning on Wednesday, to the Sebi team for questioning the kingpin of the scam.

Raju, along with his brother, were arrested earlier last month after Satyam's founder and then Chairman disclosed financial wrongdoings at the company for several past years.

Sebi's plea to question Raju was earlier rejected by a local court here, after which the regulator had moved to the Supreme Court.

Bharat Kumar said he would challenge the interrogation process in the Supreme Court once he received the apex court's order permitting the Sebi interrogation of his client.

Earlier in the morning, a state prisons official said that Sebi team was being provided a place in the administrative block of the jail for interrogating the Raju brothers.

Meanwhile, the Crime Investigation Department sleuths took Pricewaterhouse auditors S Gopalakrishnan and Talluri Srinivas into their custody for a two-day interrogation, as directed by the local court.

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