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Raju may have pre-empted extradition to US

Desaraju Surya in Hyderabad | January 11, 2009 14:16 IST

By giving himself over to the police, Satyam [Get Quote] Computer's former chairman B Ramalinga Raju may have pre-empted an extradition to the United States, where several lawsuits have been filed against him, says a section of legal experts.

However, the decision to stay away from the Sebi authorities and send his lawyer instead may create more problems for B Ramalinga Raju, including a one-year jail term and a fine of Rs 1 crore (Rs 10 million). Sebi summoned Ramalinga Raju to appear in person before its investigating officials and present the records related to the Satyam scandal.

"His lawyer can appear only before the Appellate Tribunal and not the investigating authorities," they added.

Had he appeared before the Sebi investigating team, Raju would have escaped arrest because the Sebi Act has no provision to nab a person. But, Raju chose to get 'arrested' by the police and charged under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code in what is being described by legal luminaries as 'legal match-fixing.'

"Now that he (B Ramalinga Raju) has been arrested and charged under the Indian Penal Code, he has secured immunity for himself from possible extradition to the United States, where too he is facing criminal charges.

"Similarly, under what is known as "double jeopardy" he can escape prosecution by any other agency as (the) law bars from prosecution of an accused twice for the same crime," leading lawyer Bhuvanagiri Chandrasekhar pointed out.

"By surrendering before the police, Ramalinga Raju has purchased the liberty from facing billion-dollar questions that were to be answered, from various other quarters. In a way the government has saved him from Sebi and also from extradition to the US," Chandrasekhar added.

However, Ramalinga Raju could be convicted and get life under Section 409 of IPC. However, this could be a distant possibility as charges under the Section are heard by a magistrate, who can award a jail term of only three years.

"As per Section 409 of Criminal Procedure Code, a sessions court may suo motu withdraw the case from a magistrate court and try and punish an accused under 409 IPC and award a life term. But such things have seldom happened so far," Chandrasekhar noted.

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