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Sebi Issues Landmark Order: Former Satyam Chairman and Associates Ordered to Disgorge Rs 1,747 Crore in Unprecedented Market Manipulation Case

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has issued a substantial directive targeting B Ramalinga Raju, the former chairman and promoter of the now-defunct software services giant Satyam Computer, along with four associates and the investment company linked to the Raju family. This unprecedented order mandates a collective disgorgement of Rs 624.1 crore, coupled with an interest amounting to approximately Rs 1,123 crore, resulting in a staggering total of Rs 1,747 crore – marking one of the most significant financial penalties ever imposed.

The penalization stems from the illicit gains accrued by Raju, the investment company, and the four implicated entities – namely, B Rama Raju, B Suryanarayan Raju, V Srinivas, and G Ramkrishna – through the manipulation of Satyam's stock price nearly two decades ago. The roots of this malpractice trace back to January 7, 2009, when Ramalinga Raju, then serving as Satyam's chairman, publicly disclosed his involvement in a protracted operation aimed at manipulating the company's financial records. Following this revelation, Sebi undertook an investigation that led to two regulatory orders, resulting in indictments against Ramalinga Raju and several others involved in the scandal.

In addition to the substantial disgorgement, the four entities are compelled to pay a penal (simple) interest at a rate of 12% per annum, calculated from January 7, 2009, until the actual date of payment. This interest, when factored in, elevates the total amount to the aforementioned Rs 1,747 crore. Furthermore, subject to approval from the Supreme Court, Sebi has imposed a five-year ban on both Ramalinga Raju and Rama Raju, preventing their participation in the stock market.

The culmination of this directive by Sebi follows a convoluted legal trajectory, involving cases presented before the Supreme Court, the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT), and other judicial bodies. Notably, another case related to this matter is currently pending before the apex court, as highlighted in Sebi's order.

Sebi's investigations into the Satyam affair unveiled the unsettling reality that these individuals engaged in trading Satyam shares between January 2001 and December 2008 while possessing undisclosed price-sensitive information regarding the company's precarious financial position. The intricate web of financial misconduct, spanning over two decades, has now culminated in this far-reaching regulatory action by Sebi, signaling a stern stance against corporate malfeasance and market manipulation.

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