After spending weeks in vain trying to gain access to Ramalinga Raju, market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India on Monday moved the Supreme Court seeking permission to interrogate the Satyam-founder on the Rs 7,800-crore (Rs 78-billion) fraud in the IT company.
Sebi said it was constrained to approach the apex court for urgent relief related to the most serious financial scam that had large-scale national and international ramifications.
A bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan allowed Sebi to mention the matter on Tuesday after solicitor general G E Vahanvati and counsel Pratap Venugopal submitted the request on behalf of Sebi.
Last week, the Andhra Pradesh high court had deferred to February 9, hearing on Sebi's request to quiz Raju and his brother Rama Raju.
Sebi had moved the high court challenging a lower court order, which denied it permission to interrogate the Raju brothers, who were arrested by the state police on January 9 -- the day a Sebi probe team had summoned them to appear before it in Hyderabad.
The Raju brothers, along with Satyam's [Get Quote] former CFO Vadlamani Srinivas, are now in judicial custody.
The 6th additional chief metropolitan magistrate, Hyderabad, had refused permission on the ground that Sebi was not an investigating agency and there was no provision in law under which it could interrogate the Raju brothers.
A probe team from Sebi had landed in Hyderabad on January 8, a day after Ramalinga Raju disclosed the massive accounting fraud in the IT company.
Challenging the high court order, Sebi said that it had appointed an investigator after Raju confessed to accounting irregularities in a letter to Satyam's board of directors.
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