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Raju treated with kid gloves

Raju treated with kid gloves

Author: S. Nagesh Kumar
Publication: The Hindu
Date: January 11, 2009
URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2009/01/11/stories/2009011160360800.htm

In contrast, Eenadu group chief Ramoji Rao was subjected to rough treatment

* Rao received no quarter from government in Margadarsi issue
* Satyam premises searched only a day after "confession"

The red carpet rolled out for the fallen information technology czar B. Ramalinga Raju stands out in sharp contrast to the rough treatment meted out earlier to Eenadu group chairman Ramoji Rao, who received no quarter from the Rajasekhara Reddy government over the Margadarsi issue.

Even two days after Mr. Raju publicly confessed to committing a Rs. 7,100 crore fraud, police did not close in on him, whereas cases were filed against Mr. Rao even though no formal complaint was lodged by any depositor against Margadarsi Financiers. The government itself filed a petition before a magistrate alleging that Margadarsi was not cooperating in furnishing information to the Rangachari Committee it constituted to go into the affairs of the firm.

Searches of the Satyam premises by Central agencies began only a day after his confession on January 7, while the State Criminal Investigation Department (CID) led by Inspector-General of Police V.S.K. Kaumudi entered Satyam Infocity on January 9. Mr. Raju has been shielded from direct media glare by ferrying him from one place to another in vehicles with dark tinted glasses. His arrest itself has pre-empted, for the time being, examination by the SEBI and the Serious Frauds Investigation Office.

A different yardstick was applied when police searched in February 2007 the head office and two branches of Margadarsi. Armed with a warrant, a 17-member CID team led by an IG and three Superintendents of Police descended on the head office and seized voluminous documents and a computer server during the five-hour search that continued till late into the night. Almost the entire enforcement machinery of the government was set after Mr. Rao, including the Finance Ministry, the Registrar of Companies, the Reserve Bank of India and the Income Tax Department, besides the State Revenue Department, at different points of time.

The government opened a new front against the Eenadu group a few months later when it deployed bulldozers to demolish permanent structures in Ramoji Film City on the ground that they were erected on assigned lands (those allotted to weaker sections). In all these instances, the Eenadu group has maintained that it was being targeted for writing critically about the Rajasekhara Reddy government.

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