An Indian court on Thursday sentenced Ramalinga Raju, the founder and former chairman of Satyam Computer Services, to seven years in jail and ordered him to pay a fine of 50 million rupees ($803,601) after it found him guilty of criminal conspiracy and cheating, according to local media reports. Nine others were also found guilty by the court.
Ramalinga had shocked investors in 2009, when he admitted that Satyam, once one of India's largest IT outsourcing companies, had overstated profits and assets for years in a fraud estimated to be worth over $1.5 billion.
The special court named B. Rama Raju, the former chairman’s brother who was the company's managing director at the time, Vadlamani Srinivas, former chief financial officer, former PwC auditors Subramani Gopalakrishnan and T. Srinivas, of being guilty in the case. Along with them, Ramalinga's another brother B. Suryanarayana Raju, former employees G. Ramakrishna, D. Venkatpathi Raju and Ch. Srisailam, and the company’s former internal chief auditor V. S. Prabhakar Gupta were also found guilty of fraud. All the accused are currently on bail, according to local reports.
Ramalinga, who has so far spent 32 months in jail, is the prime accused in the case and the latest verdict is the third conviction for him. Satyam had about 40,000 staff in 2009, with presence in 66 countries and 185 Fortune 500 clients. In the same year the fraud revelations were made, the Indian government forwarded the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation after suspending the company's board.
In January last year, Ramalinga’s wife Nandini Raju, brother Rama Raju, and son Teja Raju were convicted, along with 19 other relatives, for default in income tax by a Special Court for Economic Offences.
In July, the Securities and Exchange Board of India banned Ramalinga, Rama Raju, Vadlamani Srinivas, Ramakrishna, and Gupta from buying or selling of stocks, Firstpost, a local news website, reported. They were also ordered to pay 30.7 billion rupees ($493 million) as penalty with 21 percent interest.
In December, a court in the southern Indian state of Hyderabad fined Ramalinga Raju and B. Rama Raju 500,000 rupees ($8,033) each and imprisoned them for six months.