Audit firm Price Waterhouse has filed a suit against former chairman of Satyam B Ramalinga Raju and others claiming damages of Rs 100 crore for ‘deliberately’ concealing key information that led to the Rs 14,000-crore accounting fraud. A day after Tech Mahindra-acquired Satyam filed a suit against its former Board of Directors, certain employees and Price Waterhouse seeking damages for perpetrating a fraud three years ago, PW officials revealed that they have already filed a similar suit in a Andhra Pradesh court against the software firm on January 7, 2012.
“We have filed for minimum compensation and damages of Rs 100 crore, arising from the carefully and deliberately concealed fraud specifically designed to mislead the auditors by providing deliberately false information and documents,” a source said.
The civil suit is against Satyam and its former senior management — Ramalinga Raju, Rama Raju, G Rama Krishna, Vadlamani Srinivas, Srisailam Chetkuru, D Venkatapathi Raju, the person added.
Yesterday in a BSE filing, Mahindra Satyam had said the company filed a suit in city civil court, Hyderabad, seeking damages from PW and former Satyam Board for “inter-alia perpetrating fraud, breach of fiduciary responsibility, obligations and negligence in performance of duties”.
Last year, Mahindra Satyam had agreed to pay USD 125 million (over Rs 587 crore) in an out-of-court settlement to end a bunch of class action suits filed in the US.
It has also agreed to pay USD 70 million in a legal settlement with British firm Upaid Systems. Indian tax authorities have also made an I-T claim of about Rs 2,500 crore.
Besides, US Securities Exchange Commission has in April, 2011 imposed a penalty of USD 17.5 million jointly on Satyam Computers, PriceWaterhouse India and affliates auditors for the accounts bungling that went undetected for several years.
Satyam agreed to pay a fine of USD 10 million towards settlement of charges of fraudulently “overstating the company’s revenue, income and cash balances by more than USD 1 billion over five years”.
SEC asked PriceWaterhouse India to pay USD 6 million in penalty for conducting “deficient audits of the company’s financial statements and enabling a massive accounting fraud to go undetected for several years”.
Other affiliates, Lovelock & Lewes and Price Waterhouse Bangalore agreed to pay the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) a USD 1.5 million penalty for their violations of PCAOB rules and standards in relation to the Satyam audit engagement.
Satyam was taken over by the Mahindra group in 2009 and rechristened it as Mahindra Satyam, after its founder Ramalinga Raju admitted to an about Rs 14,000-crore accounting scam in 2009.