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Satyam Case: Deadline Extended

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The Indian Supreme Court on Monday decided to hear a CBI plea for more time to complete its proceedings in the trial in the multi-crore Satyam accounting scam, involving the company's founder B Ramalinga Raju and nine others.

The court also decided to hear the bail pleas of four of the accused.

Tagging the CBI plea with the bail pleas filed last week, a bench headed by Justice Dalveer Bhandari issued notices to all the scam accused on the application moved by the prosecuting agency.

While taking on board the CBI's plea for hearing, the bench praised it for the speedy proceedings in the case and asked it not to seek any adjournment.

"There is no doubt that you (CBI) did an admirable job," the bench said.

The agency approached the apex court after its failure to stick to the July 31 deadline, fixed by the apex court last November, to complete the trial.

Additional Solicitor General Haren Rawal, appearing for the agency, pleaded that the trial could not be completed within the stipulated time frame because of 18 days of strike by lawyers and 10 days of court vacation.

He submitted that deposition by 211 witnesses in the court has already been completed and only 15 investigating officers are now left to be examined by the defence.

The court, after hearing the Rawal's submissions, issued notices to all the accused, seeking their stand on the CBI application for grant of more time.

While cancelling Raju's bail in October, the Supreme Court had stated that the accused could file bail application only after July 31, if the trial in the case was not completed by then in the local court.

Raju and six other accused, who are currently lodged in Chanchalguda Central Prison in Hyderabad, had earlier moved the Andhra Pradesh High Court for bail as the July deadline for the trial to be completed could not be met.

The high court, however, had refused to grant them bail, prompting four of them to approach the apex court, which, while agreeing to hear their pleas, had issued notice to the CBI on September 16.

The four who have approached the apex court for bail are Satyam's former internal chief auditor V S Prabhakar Gupta besides its former employees G Ramakrishna, D Venkatpathi Raju and Ch Srisailam.

Besides Raju, the other accused in the case include his brother B Suryanarayana Raju, Satyam's former MD B Rama Raju, ex-CFO Vadlamani Srinivas, former employees G Ramakrishna, D Venkatpathi Raju and Srisailam, former PWC auditors Subramani Gopalakrishnan, T Srinivas and Satyam's former internal chief auditor V S Prabhakar Gupta.

Raju, Satyam Computer founder and its former chairman, had surrendered on November 10 last year before a Hyderabad court adjudicating the nation's biggest corporate fraud, allegedly to the tune of Rs 14,000 crore.