RPT-UPDATE 2-India outsourcer Satyam's founder granted bail

Thu Aug 19, 2010 8:05am IST

Stocks

   

(Repeats story issued late on Wednesday)

* Raju to continue cooperating with investigation - lawyer

* Cannot talk about grounds for bail right now - lawyer

* Raju was in police custody after admitting fraud in 2009 (Adds comments from lawyers)

HYDERABAD, India Aug 18 (Reuters) - An Indian court granted bail to former chairman and founder of outsourcer Satyam Computer Services SATY.BO in a case of accounting fraud that turned out to be India's biggest corporate scandal.

Ramalinga Raju, a management graduate from Ohio University who founded Satyam in 1987, shocked investors in January 2009 when he said the firm's profits had been overstated for years and assets falsified in a fraud allegedly worth over $1.5 billion.

Raju had been in police custody since the revelation of the fraud. A court in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad, where Satyam is headquartered, granted the bail on Wednesday.

"He has been cooperating with the investigation, he has been cooperating with the trial, and he will do so without exception and without any concession," Raju's lawyer Bharat Kumar told reporters outside the court in Hyderabad.

Kumar said he could not immediately comment on the grounds for the bail as he was yet to receive a court judgement copy, but local Indian television channels said Raju was granted bail on medical grounds.

"The important grounds are that this is a long incarceration as an under-trial prisoner," Kumar said. "My client himself surrendered before the police and he cooperated all through with the investigating agencies and his health is also not good."

India's federal crime bureau, which has been investigating the case, will appeal to the apex court after studying the order, V.V. Lakshmi Narayana, a Hyderabad-based senior official with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), told Reuters.

In April last year, the bureau had said it had filed charges against nine people for alleged involvement in fraud at the outsourcing firm. The charges include criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery and falsification of accounts.

Five former Satyam officials were also granted bail in July. Those included former managing director B. Rama Raju and former finance chief Vadlamani Srinivas. [ID:nSGE66J0IB]

Satyam was sold to Indian IT firm Tech Mahindra (TEML.BO), majority-owned by automaker Mahindra & Mahindra (MAHM.BO) and partly owned by British telecoms operator BT Plc (BT.L), in an auction in April last year.

It was subsequently renamed Mahindra Satyam, which is also listed in New York SAY.N. The firm counts General Electric Co (GE.N), Citigroup (C.N), Cisco Systems (CSCO.O) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L) among its clients.

Shares in Mahindra Satyam ended 0.5 percent lower at 84.95 rupees and Tech Mahindra closed little changed at 714.70 rupees in the main Mumbai market .BSESN that rose 1.2 percent. (Reporting by Devidutta Tripathy, Sumeet Chatterjee; Editing by Jui Chakravorty and Jon Loades-Carter)

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