Home Economy Serious Fraud Investigation Office to probe Satyam-Maytas nexus

Serious Fraud Investigation Office to probe Satyam-Maytas nexus


New Delhi : The government Monday ordered a probe into possible “nexus” between the fraud-hit Satyam Computer Services and its tainted founder B. Ramalinga Raju’s two family-run firms Maytas Properties and Maytas Infrastructure.

The Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), which is already probing the Rs.70 billion ($1.4 billion) Satyam scam, has also been given the mandate to probe the nexus, Corporate Affairs Minister P.C. Gupta told reporters here.

“The inspectors investigating the matters relating to Satyam have informed (the government) about the apparent nexus between the events that have taken place at Satyam and Maytas Properties and Maytas Infrastructure,” he said.

“Therefore, the government, in exercise of its powers under the Companies Act, 1956, has approved and authorized the inspectors to obtain such books, records, papers as they deem necessary,” he added.

“I would like to say the government will leave no stone unturned to obtain full facts of the case, to ascertain the extent and nature of the irregularities that may have been committed relating to Satyam,” the minister said, adding: “The guilty will be punished.”

The Serious Fraud Investigation Office started functioning Oct 1, 2004, and was set up against the backdrop of the stock market scam, the failure of non-banking finance firms, and the phenomena of vanishing companies and plantation firms.

Formed under the ministry of corporate affairs, it has under its wing experts in fields like capital markets, accountancy, forensic audit, taxation, company law, IT, customs and investigation.

Based on the probes since inception, the office has filed 671 cases under the Companies Act and 68 cases under the Indian Penal Code.

The Hyderabad-based infrastructure company is one of the two realty firms that are run by the two sons of Raju, who is the chief promoter with 36 percent equity holding.

The aborted bid to acquire the two firms – Maytas Infra and Maytas Properties – for $1.6 billion (Rs.79.2 billion/Rs.7,920 crore) by the fraud-tainted Satyam led to an unprecedented crisis in the global software major, resulting in a spate of resignations by four directors and subsequently by Raju.

In a related development earlier in the day, Maytas Infra chief executive and whole-time director of P.K. Madhav resigned, the company informed the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).