The Supreme Court on Monday directed the trial court not to prosecute IT major Tech Mahindra for alleged money laundering of over Rs 800 crore, which the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has sought to recover from Satyam Computer Services Ltd founder B Ramalinga Raju and others. Since Tech Mahindra has taken over Satyam, the ED has named the former as an accused in the case.
A bench of Justices T S Thakur and R Banumathi asked the Andhra Pradesh High Court to decide the company’s plea for removal of its name within four months and the trial court shall not proceed with the money laundering case till the disposal.
The order came as the ED admitted that the company may get blacklisted from international operations in the wake of the money laundering charges, and the software business of the county could also get hit since Tech Mahindra was a leading firm.
Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, however, expressed the perplexity of the probe agency since the company had to be named for prosecution and Satyam did not exist anymore. “Raju brothers are to be prosecuted in this case and not company as such. The criminal liability was fastened on Tech Mahindra, since after the amalgamation, the company has taken over all assets and liability including criminal and civil cases. The tainted money brought in by the Satyam promoters was still lying with the company,” he argued.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who appeared for the company, pointed out that when the CBI prosecuted Raju brothers, Tech Mahindra was not named as an accused and the same principle could be followed by ED.
Considering these submissions, the bench said it would want to have the advantage of the High Court verdict first and till then, the company need not be proceeded against.
Tech Mahindra, which bought over Satyam Computer in 2013, faced prosecution under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act for receiving the tainted money to the sum of Rs 822 crore.
While a single judge bench cleared Tech Mahindra’s name, the division bench, in its interim order, said the company could be prosecuted.
Raju brothers, 7 others get bail
New Delhi: B Ramalinga Raju, convicted in the multi-crore accounting scam in Satyam Computer Service, his brother B Rama Raju, and seven others were granted bail by a Metropolitan Sessions court on Monday. Raju brothers were released on a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh each while the other were granted bail for bonds worth Rs 50,000 each. Raju and the others had filed an application seeking suspension of their sentence and fines imposed on them by the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate court on April 9. Raju and the others were sentenced to seven years RI and a fine of Rs 5 crore was imposed on Raju brothers and Rs 25 lakh each on the others. ENS