Ramalinga Raju – The fraud King

Close on the heels of the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scam in the US, Ramalinga Raju has tarnished the Indian industry with a scam that has been running for years. The Satyam balance sheet was inflated by Rs 5040 crores.  To control it, he even took Rs 1230 crores worth of loans.  What started off as a small accounting glitch and was hidden from the shareholders and the public has now grown so big that in a last ditch effort, Ramalinga Raju even tried to buy over a real estate firm Maytas so that he could cover the hole created by the fraud with another fraud.  When the investors took umbrage to it and hammered the stock, Raju had the cheek to come on live TV and brush it off.

INDIA-IT-SATYAM-EARNINGSIt was a clear case of a crook who had grown too big for his boots.  Even today Raju wouldnt have resigned if not for the fact that some of the shares that he and his family had pledged with some private Financial Institutions were sold off by the FIs as the stock was being hammered post the Satyam-Maytas deal.

Now, Ramalinga Raju would like us to believe that none of the directors had any inkling of the scam that had been going on for years.  If this is the kind of transperency that an independent director brings to the company, its high time they are taken to task.  And what about the auditors who were supposed to look into the balance sheets and raise a flag?  How did Raju manage to hide the scam all these years from the independent directors and the auditors?  If he was so cunning, then Raju deserves to be punished heavily and also the government should make sure that all the auditing firms that audited the Satyam books in the past years should be banned from taking up anymore business in the country.

If Raju had managed to shut the mouths of the directors and auditors with generous payment, it simply shows his audacity.  He should be given exemplerary punishment and made an example just for the fact that he has poured cold water on all the efforts by the government and genuine companies in projecting India as a safe investment hub.

Am appaled and outraged to see that a Chairman of a company could take the shareholders, SEBI, the auditors, the directors, the government and its agencies for a ride all these years.  As an investor in the Indian stock market, i have completely lost faith in the system. I dont know what to do with all the reporting and the balance sheets that the companies put forth.  Should i believe them at face value?  If the management has the audacity to silence the auditors and the independent directors, what choice does a normal investor like me have?

Ramalinga Raju, the auditors, the independent directors and everyone else associated with the scam need to be punished hard by the law enforcement agencies.  He is a blot on the Indian business scene.

I can only have sympathy for the minority investors in Satyam whose stock was hammered today by more than 77%.  What about the thousands of employees of Satyam who put in their hard work only for the head of the company to take them for a ride.

My previous take on the Satyam-Maytas deals here, here

An insider’s take on the Satyam fiasco.