Unequal law

Unequal law

The granting of bail to Ramalinga Raju, former chairman of Satyam Computers, who is the main accused in the huge fraud case that rocked corporate India last year, raises serious doubts about the effectiveness of the justice system in dealing with crimes committed by rich and well-connected people. The Andhra Pradesh high court has imposed some minor conditions while granting the fraudster the bail that he has been trying to get for months. These conditions are trivial in view of the scale and seriousness of the fraud that involved, by latest estimates, about Rs 25,000 crore. The court unfortunately did not accept the CBI’s contention that Raju might try to influence witnesses in the case who are mostly Satyam employees. The supreme court had in March this year rejected Raju’s bail petition on the ground that “he is the main accused and is likely to influence the witnesses.” There is no convincing ground for a change of view now.

The VVIP treatment that Raju has received all these months is more scandalous. He was in jail for just a few months and there he was provided the best amenities and comforts, including a badminton court specially made for him. In September last year he moved to the Nizam Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) where the same treatment has continued. No independent doctor has examined him to check the veracity of his claims of illness. The person who could not move from the hospital to the jail or the court  because of illness is now healthy enough to go home.

There are many shareholders who are yet to recover from the losses they suffered on account of Raju’s fraud. Bringing him and his accomplices to book at the earliest is vital for re-establishing faith in the best corporate practices and in regaining investor confidence at an important stage in the country’s growth. Raju has not co-operated in the investigation and in the judicial proceedings. He did not reply to the questions sent to him in his NIMS address. He has never attended court and the proceedings are stalled because of his claimed illness. All the accused in the case are now out on bail. The rule of law seems to be different for different people, judging by the kid glove treatment Raju has been getting.

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