Sunday, January 11, 2009

Satyam's Raju spent first night in jail like ordinary prisoner

Once in the list of the richest Indians, disgraced founder and former chairman of Satyam Computers B. Ramalinga Raju and his brother B. Rama Raju spent Saturday night in the Chanchalguda jail and slept on the floor along with 26 other prisoners accused of petty crimes like theft.

The Raju brothers, who have been remanded to judicial custody till Jan 23 by a magistrate, will be treated like ordinary undertrials. Prison authorities said there would be no special treatment for them.

The high-profile remand prisoners, involved in a Rs.70 billion fraud in the company, slept on groundsheets and were provided with woollen blankets in the admission barrack of the jail.

They were brought to the jail after 6 p.m. and by that time the supper for prisoners had already been served. When jail authorities asked if they wanted dinner, they said they were not hungry.

The former Satyam boss and his brother will be shown no VIP treatment. There will be no homemade food for them and they will be served jail food thrice a day along with other inmates, said a prison official.

Each will be eligible for 650 gm of rice thrice a day along with 250 gm of vegetable curry and 125 gm of 'daal'. They will also be served tea twice a day.

The Rajus are likely to be shifted to the barracks on Monday after the court hears their bail petition. However, they will be segregated from those accused in violent offences like murders, dacoities and robberies. They are likely to be lodged in separate barracks meant for prisoners facing 'soft' cases like cheating.

The Rajus will be in the company of other high-profile prisoners like Venkateshwara Rao, former chairman of Krushi Bank, K.S. Raju, chairman of Nagarjuna Finance Limited (NFL), and a former director of NFL P.K. Madhav. All three were also accused of swindling huge amounts of money of depositors.

The prison authorities have been given clear orders by the higher-ups that they should not show special treatment to the Rajus. Even jail superintendent M. Chandrasekhar was transferred a day before the Rajus were remanded to judicial custody in the wake of allegations that inmates K.S. Raju and P.K. Madhav were given special treatment. The two were shifted to a hospital recently on medical grounds.

On the request of Ramalinga Raju's lawyer S. Bharat Kumar, the magistrate has issued orders to the jail authorities to constantly monitor his health. "His blood pressure is fluctuating and he needs medical treatment," said Bharat Kumar.

Immediately after the Rajus were brought to the jail, the authorities asked him whether he required any medical examination, but he declined.

They have been charged with criminal breach of trust, criminal conspiracy, cheating, falsification of records and forgery.

Ramalinga Raju Wednesday resigned as chairman of Satyam, India's fourth largest IT services company, while admitting to the massive fraud. His brother Rama Raju also quit as the managing director.

They were arrested by the Crime Investigation Department (CID) Friday night. The CID officials grilled them for over 18 hours at the state police headquarters to collect evidence against them.

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