Former Satyam chief declared a ‘pauper’ in the US

A United States court has declared the disgraced former chief of Satyam Computer, Ramalinga Raju, as a pauper, which exempts him from paying court costs

Ramalinga Raju, the infamous former Satyam chief—who last year confessed to having cooked the books of the Indian IT company—has been declared a ‘pauper’ by a US court, exempting him from paying court costs, reports PTI.

The ‘pauper’ status was also conferred on Raju’s brother, Rama Raju, Satyam's former chief executive officer, and Srinivas Vadlamani, the company's former head of finance, by New York judge Barabara S Jones.

The defendants had in October 2009, filed an ‘in forma pauperis’ and for the appointment for a pro bono counsel.

According to court documents, the accused stated they are "unable to engage an attorney in the US to defend (themselves) in the class-action litigation and to pay any court fees or to meet any financial obligations which might be imposed by this court".

"The court finds that (the) defendants have adequately demonstrated that they are unable to pay costs as described in the federal law," US District Judge Jones said and proceeded to approve the ‘pauper’ status on the trio.

The judge, however, denied the request for a pro bono counsel as the "defendants are incarcerated in a foreign country and it would be unusually difficult for the appointed counsel to meet and otherwise competently represent (the) defendants under the circumstances".

The IT company, which has now been taken over by Tech Mahindra, was mired in an unprecedented controversy early in 2009, when its then chief Mr Raju had admitted to falsifying Satyam’s books by more than $1 billion.

In November last year, a CBI probe found that the fraud was 40% larger than originally estimated.

The former CEO of Satyam is since being held in India.

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