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Satyam case: BNP Paribas disowns documents

November 10, 2010 12:05 IST
SatyamThe fixed deposit numbers and the amount mentioned in the set of documents given for verification by the Central Bureau of Investigation do not match the records of BNP Paribas, according to the bank's Hyderabad branch manager A Sabesan.

Deposing before the special court on Tuesday, Sabesan said the CBI had given the bank a set of documents that it seized during its investigation into the Satyam scam and asked it to ascertain if they were issued by the bank.

The set of documents also contained a fixed deposit receipt for Rs 25 crore (Rs 250 million), dated December 11, 2006, for a tenure of two years purportedly shown as issued by the Mumbai branch of BNP Paribas.

The local branch, after receiving the verification request, took up the matter with the Mumbai branch, which, too, said it had never issued the said 'fixed deposit advice', he said, pointing out that the letterhead of BNP Paribas in the documents submitted by CBI had the email address of the bank's former chief executive officer, who quit the organisation in 2002.

The bank produced a specimen of the document that it gives to its customers to differentiate it from the one produced by CBI.

Also, BNP had a policy that the 'fixed deposit advices' need to be signed by two witnesses, the branch manager said, adding the documents provided by CBI differed from the set bank norms and the signatures on these did not match with those of any officials.

The balance confirmation report was also not issued by the bank, he said, adding BNP consolidated all account details of the software company and gave a report to the PricewaterhouseCoopers at the request of Satyam Computer Services Ltd.

The list included fixed deposit numbers, principal amount, date of deposit, date of maturity, gross interest, TDS and net interest.

The list of deposits submitted by CBI for verification were non-existent in the bank, he said, adding a second check was also done at the Mumbai office.

Satyam maintained five current accounts to transact in Indian rupees and three accounts for dealing in foreign currencies -- dollar, euro and Swiss franc.

Satyam did not have any other accounts in any of its branches across the country, he said.

The court asked CBI to produce the Mumbai official, who had certified the documents.

The court gave two weeks for the CBI to trace him.

CBI, in its earlier chargesheet, said its investigation had revealed a large gap between the cash in current accounts and fixed deposits as shown in balance sheets to that of the actual cash position.

For instance, the company in the second quarter of 2008 had shown a cash balance of Rs 1,841.16 crore (Rs 18.41 billion) but the actual balance was only Rs 128.96 crore (Rs 1.28 billion).

Also, the company projected a cash balance of Rs 3,319.17 crore (Rs 33.19 billion) but actually only Rs 10.82 crore (Rs 108.2 million) existed.

Thus, the nonexistent cash and bank balances in the second quarter of 2008 were about Rs 5,020.55 crore (Rs 50.2 billion).

In order to show these fixed deposits, the accused had forged fixed deposit receipts and monthly bank statements to inflate the balances in the current accounts, the chargesheet said.

BS Reporter in Hyderabad in Hyderabad