In partial relief to Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) auditors Subramani Gopalakrishnan and Sriniwas Talluri,accused in the Rs 14,000 crore Satyam scam,the Bombay High Court today directed market regulator SEBI to commence its inquiry against them from May.
Gopalakrishnan and Talluri had approached the high court seeking deferment of the SEBI proceedings against them pending the criminal trial going on in a Hyderabad court.
“The trial is presently on at Hyderabad and is likely to conclude within three months. If SEBI also starts its inquiry now then the alleged accused would be forced to reveal their defence,” senior counsel Fredun DeVitre appearing for the petitioners argued.
SEBI had in February 2009 and in 2010 issued show cause notices to Gopalakrishnan and Talluri and the duo today sought the proceedings to be deferred until conclusion of the trial in Hyderabad.
A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice R V More while partially accepting their arguments directed SEBI to commence their inquiry from May 7.
“If by then the trial in Hyderabad is not over then SEBI to see to it that their dates of inquiry do not clash with the trial dates,” the court said.
The CBI probing the Satyam scam has filed three charge sheets against Gopalakrishnan and Talluri for criminal conspiracy and cheating among other charges.
Satyam Computer Services,now Mahindra Satyam,has also filed a suit in a Hyderabad court against its former board of directors,certain employees and the company’s audit firm PwC seeking damages for allegedly perpetrating fraud.
PwC too has filed a suit against former chairman of Satyam,B Ramalinga Raju,and others claiming damages of Rs 100 crore for “deliberately” concealing key information that led to the accounting fraud.
The Bombay High Court had earlier ruled that Securities and Exchange Board of India had the powers to conduct an inquiry into the multi-crore Satyam scam and also to issue show cause notice to Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PWC) to explain its alleged role in concealing the scam.