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Raju's jail stay extended; gets 'special status'

Mohammed Siddique in Hyderabad | February 07, 2009 20:26 IST

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The disgraced former chairman of Satyam Computer Services [Get Quote] B Ramalinga Raju's 'stay' at Chanchalguda Central jail is about to enter second month as his hopes for any early release on bail have been dashed.

A local court on Saturday extended the judicial custody of Ramalinga Raju, his brother and former managing director Rama Raju and former chief financial officer Vadlamani Srinivas till February 21.

As their judicial custody was coming to an end, the three were produced before the 6th chief additional metropolitan magistrate D Ramakrishna through video conference facility from the jail.

After interacting with the accused the judged ordered that they be kept in judicial custody for two more weeks. The judicial custody of two partners of Pricewaterhouse Gopalakrishnan and Srinivas Talluri was also extended. The Pricewaterhouse was the former auditor of the fraud hit Satyam Computer.

D Gopalakrishna Raju, the general manager of SRSR Advisory Services, a company promoted by Ramalinga Raju, is the only accused in the case to get bail from the court. After he was granted bail on Friday, Ramainga Raju's lawyer had become hopeful that their client may also get some respite.

It may be recalled that B Ramalinga Raju had tendered his resignation as the chairman of Satyam on January 7 after admitting the massive fraud of Rs 7,800 crore (Rs 78 billion). He along with his brother was arrested by the police on January 9 and next day they were remanded to judicial custody.

While the market regulator Securities Exchange Board of India has completed the three day long questioning of the Raju brothers in jail, the Serious Fraud Investigation Office has also moved another application in the court for permission to question the accused.

But the difficult days seems to be over for Ramalinga Raju in the Chanchalguda Central jail as his status has been changed from ordinary prisoner to special class prisoner following the court order.

Under this new status, he has been provided a separate room with attached kitchen with an option to cook his own food and eat the food brought by his family members. It will be a big relief for the once billionaire tycoon, who was forced to have the same dal-rice and other ordinary items cooked for the other under-trials.

The other privileges he has been provided include table, chair, cot, pillow and bed sheet. He will have access to money to buy newspapers and will get to watch TV which will be installed in his room if he asks for it. "He can ask for a color TV set", the jail sources said.

The court order took into consideration his background including his education, his erstwhile position as a corporate figure and his life style. The jail officials said that jail manual has a provision to provide special status to such under trials.

The court had referred Ramalinga Raju's counsel's petition for special status to the Hyderabad district collector and magistrate Navin Mittal to study and issue necessary orders. Navin Mittal said that special status was recommended after an enquiry.

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