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SFIO to question Raju and aides for six days

BS Reporter in Hyderabad | March 30, 2009 10:58 IST

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A court allowed the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), a central government body, to question Satyam Computer Services [Get Quote] founder B Ramalinga Raju, former managing director B Rama Raju, former chief financial officer Srinivas Vadlamani and two Price Waterhouse auditors, S Gopalakrishnan and Srinivas Talluri, for six days from March 29.

The judge said the questioning should be carried out in the presence of the counsel of the accused from 10.30am to 5pm. The SFIO would record the statements at the Chanchalguda Central Prison, where the accused are lodged after being arrested in connection with the Rs 7,800-crore (Rs 78 bilion) accounting scam at Satyam.

The court also allowed the petition filed by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) for recording the statements of Vadlamani, Gopalakrishnan and Talluri. They would be questioned on April 4 and 5 in the presence of their counsel.

Two members from the high-powered ICAI committee, formed to look into the role of the chartered accountants in the scam, would appear on behalf of the ICAI to record the statements.

Meanwhile, the court dismissed the bail applications of the Raju brothers and the former chief financial officer. The counsel for Price Waterhouse would file a bail application for auditors Gopalakrishnan and Talluri on Monday or Tuesday.

In a related development, the CBI filed a petition in the court seeking handwriting and signature samples of all the five accused.

The CBI, in its petition, said the verification of signatures and handwriting was necessary as "most documents appeared to be fabricated".

It requested the court to direct the accused to furnish specimen handwritings and signatures. It would take help of handwriting experts to analyse the specimen.

The CBI, which took over the investigation from the state investigating agency, CID, has now several trunk-loads of documents seized in connection with the scam.

The court also posted the CBI's plea seeking permission to subject Raju and two others to polygraph (lie detection) test to April 1. The defence counsel sought time from the court till Wednesday to file the counter.

The CBI counsel said the accused were not forthright in their replies during interrogation. The CBI had questioned the five accused from March 10 to 17 and later sought two more days to interrogate the Raju brothers and the former chief financial officer.

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