Hyderabad: "Satyam" (truth) lies clearly buried in the Ramalinga Raju saga.
Was Ramalinga Raju, along with his brother Rama Raju, "picked up" by the police or did the brothers "give themselves up?" What formed the basis for their "arrest?" Why were the Rajus "hidden" from the media and why was there a two-day delay in CID taking up the Satyam Computers financial scandal case for investigation? Was there any attempt to bail out the Rajus? While there are contradicting answers for some of these questions, there are no answers for some other.
The police said something about Ramalinga Raju's "arrest" while state Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy revealed something else. There is also no coherence between what the police claimed and what the Chief Minister spoke on what basis has Raju indeed been arrested.
Moreover, the two-day delay in the Crime Investigation Department swinging into action has not only invited sharp criticism from opposition parties but has also left enough room for doubt over the actual motive.
The Chief Minister said today that he was informed by the state Director General of Police S S P Yadav around 9 pm on Friday that a team of CID sleuths has been dispatched to "pick up" Ramalinga Raju from his house.
But, events on Friday night told a different story. Ramalinga Raju and his brother Rama Raju drove in a convoy of luxury cars to the State Police Headquarters to submit themselves before the DGP. Police immediately claimed that the Raju brothers were "arrested."
Around 1 am that night, CID Inspector General (Economic Offences Wing) V S K Kaumudi told a frenzied media group – his statement was, of course, not clearly audible – that the ex-bosses of Satyam Computers were arrested when they came to the Police Headquarters.
Kaumudi also explained that the arrest was based on a complaint lodged by a Satyam investor under various sections of the Indian Penal Code.
But the Chief Minister announced today that it was a suo moto action on part of the police based on the "confessional letter" written by Ramalinga Raju to the Satyam Computers Board.
Interestingly, around 9.15 pm on Friday, the so-called police spokesman A K Khan, who is of the rank of Additional DGP, denied any case has been registered against the Rajus and the CID was "merely enquiring" into the Satyam affair. Subsequently, he remained in communicado while other top police brass refused to take any calls. "Contact the police spokesman," was their constant refrain.
It was on January 7 that Ramalinga Raju came out with disclosure of a mind-boggling Rs 7800 crore financial bungling in Satyam Computers. The same afternoon, Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, camping in New Delhi, announced that the CID would take up investigation into the Satyam case.
But the CID was formally asked to take up the case only on January 9, a clear two days after the scandal saw the light.
Things, however, moved at a brisk pace on Friday even as the Chief Minister camped in Chennai.
The state DGP held a top-level meeting with the CID Additional DGP A Sivanarayana and IG (EOW) V S K Kaumudi and chalked out the course of action. Immediately thereafter the DGP briefed the state Chief Secretary P Ramakanth Reddy about the police plan and subsequently the matter was conveyed to the Chief Minister who returned in the evening. And, around 9.30 pm the Rajus were "arrested." The Chief Minister, however, flatly denied there was any "delay" in launching police action against the tainted Rajus. CID officials, on their part, maintained that they swung into action as soon as they got necessary "directions" from the government.
Of course, the directions came two days late as was obvious.
The police took all pains to shield Ramalinga Raju from the prying media.
"Why was Raju hidden from the media," the Chief Minister was asked.
As is his wont, Rajasekhara Reddy did not care to answer this query.