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Govt orders SFIO probe into Satyam scandal

January 13, 2009 14:42 IST
Last Updated: January 13, 2009 15:58 IST

The government on Tuesday ordered investigation into the Satyam [Get Quote] scandal by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office, an entity that probes cases of economic offences of grave nature.

"The SFIO will submit its report in three months," corporate affairs minister Prem Chand Gupta told reporters.

The government ordered the probe by the SFIO after receiving a report from the Registrar of Companies, Hyderabad, which inspected the books of accounts of Satyam Computer Services and eight other companies belonging to the kin of the former chairman of the IT major, B Ramalinga Raju.

"The government has ordered the probe (by the SFIO) based on the RoC report, Gupta said.

"The SFIO will be looking into the entire gamut of irregularities and other related anomalies... the (irregularities) in books of accounts and other acts of commission and omission."

The investigating agency, he said, "(has) also been asked to go into all aspects (and role of) directors, promoters, Satyam company, auditors and all."

On the role of the regulator and regulation, the minister said, "This is an issue which is also being looked into by the government. We will have detailed discussions on this."

As regards appointing more directors on the board of Satyam, Gupta said corporate affairs secretary Anurag Goel was in constant touch with the board and "a decision (to appoint more directors) will be taken without and when required. We are working on that."

Asked about the possibility of a merger of Satyam Computer with another IT company, Gupta said, "You are asking me something which is not a concern of today."

On the specific issue of delay in action against auditing firm Price Waterhouse, the Minister said, "There is a procedure for everything, ICAI has its own procedure ... You cannot jump the queue. Don't assume anything unless facts are out."

The government, he added, was seized of problems on Satyam and no one found guilty will be spared.

Earlier, the MCA had ordered an inspection by the RoC, Hyderabad, of Satyam's books and those of eight group companies, following disclosures by the IT major's founder B Ramalinga Raju that the company was presenting doctored accounts.

The ministry sent an eight-member team from Delhi comprising officials from the SFIO to assist the RoC.

The SFIO inquiry has been ordered after the RoC gave a preliminary report. The Minister, however, did not disclose the contents of the RoC report.

Gupta said on Sunday that the RoC had 'seized voluminous documents from various premises of the company in close coordination with the officers of Sebi'.

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