Satyam fund transfers tracked to foreign accounts

Scrutinising banking transactions involving Satyam Computers Services Limited (SCSL) and the 327 shell companies set up by its founder Ramalinga Raju....

Written by Ritu Sarin | Hyderabad | Published: February 10, 2009 11:11 am

Scrutinising banking transactions involving Satyam Computers Services Limited (SCSL) and the 327 shell companies set up by its founder Ramalinga Raju,the Serious Fraud Investigating Office (SFIO) is closing in on what it calls the cycle of “money rotation” between various Satyam entities.

According to official records accessed by The Indian Express,this shows how — just before Satyam’s takeover bid of Maytas in December last year — the company routed funds into its foreign bank accounts.

In one illustrative case,the SFIO has tracked transfers to foreign banks from just one HDFC Bank Account of Satyam Computers Services Ltd. “It has been observed that money has been transferred to 10 associate/group concerns of SCSL maintaining accounts with various branches of Axis Bank…various accounts of Axis Bank have been used to rotate the funds and ultimately with the addition of few other credits/top-up of cash,the money ultimately left the shore of Axis Bank by transfer of funds.”

Consider these transfers between October-November 2008,as per SFIO records:

Rs 38.96 crore to Deutsche Investments on October 6,2008 “ultimately” through Vyaya Agro Farms and Samudra Greenfields

Rs 25 crore to DSP Merrill Lynch on October 13,2008 “ultimately” through Amaravathi Greenfields

Rs 15.59 crore to GE Capital and GE Money on October 14,2008 “ultimately” through Pavitravati Greenfields and Vamdeva Greenfields

Rs 3.07 crore transferred to Deutsche Investments on November 4,2008 through Vyaya Agro Farms

Rs 6.70 crore transferred to ITCL with cash top-up of Rs 1.7 crore on November 20,2008 through Amaravathi Greenfields

Rs 10.22 crore transferred to DSP Merrill Lynch on November 25,2008 “ultimately” through Viswamitri Greenfields.

Axis Bank was asked by SFIO to submit all debit and credit vouchers along with those for any single-day transactions of Rs 1 crore in the “over 300 accounts maintained by the associate/ group concerns of SCSL.”

The uncovering of the money transfer trail is significant since the existence of 10 of the very same “fund transfer” companies and 37 others used for the purpose of massive land acquisition is something uncovered early in the investigation by the State CID.

Meanwhile,investigators from the Income Tax Department in Hyderabad say they have decided to re-open the 2002-2003 IT case against SCSL — this was when the company was “searched” by the Department.

The IT Department has already centralized all returns of Satyam entities and individuals and has an uphill task ahead of matching these returns with bank statements. The Enforcement Directorate,too,is engaged in a similar operation and has informed the local magistrate in Hyderabad that a case is likely to be made out under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

In its report,the ED said how promoters face an allegation of “diversion of funds from SCSL by fudging of books of accounts and other records and of purchasing a lot of immovable property in the names of their family members,relations and other benami firms using proceeds of crime.”

(Concluded)

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