The Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) investigating into the multi-thousand crore Satyam scam has found that the IT company’s Bank of Baroda’s (BoB) New York branch account was used to cook up its balance sheet. CNBC-TV18’s Pranshu Sikka reports.

The SFIO has recommended an investigation into Bank of Baroda’s role in the Satyam scam. A report by the investigating agency says that the Satyam account, numbered 120559, in New York was used by the company to camouflage fictitious collections — when the cash did not exist — and that the account statements were falsified and so was the quarterly balance sheet with regard to this account.

“In view of this, it is suggested that a detailed investigation of the role of Bank of Baroda may be done by an appropriate investigation agency,” says the SFIO report.

The modus operandi

The report says that Satyam would show the fictitious balance in the account and would later show the money being diverted and being shown as fixed deposits with other banks. The other banks named have gone on record to say that the fixed deposits do not exist.

BoB’s role under cloud

While the exact link of the where and how the account-related fraud was perpetrated hasn’t been established, the SFIO says prima-facie evidence suggests involvement of some of the bank officials and has recommended an enquiry on the part of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.

Sources in the investigative office say the Satyam hunt has reached a stage where a multi-disciplinary execution is needed and expectedly, the Enforcement Directorate, the Foreign Exchange Management Act and other regulatory bodies are expected to join this investigation.

BoB responds

In its response, Bank of Baroda said it had not yet seen the SFIO report and that the probing agency had not written to the bank about any investigation against any of its officials.

Satyam, Bank of Baroda confirmed, did have a current account in its New York account but added that the bank had not observed any transactions that raised any doubts.

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