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Verdict on 'India's Enron' fraud trial delayed

HYDERABAD – A court in India trying former business executives over one of India's biggest corporate fraud scandals at IT group Satyam delayed on Monday its verdict until later this month, a lawyer said.


The former chairman of the outsourcing giant, B Ramalinga Raju, and nine other accused including his brother have been on trial since 2010 for conspiracy, cheating and forgery. The scandal at the Hyderabad-based firm is known as India's Enron after the US energy giant that collapsed in 2001 in the wake of massive false-accounting revelations.


Raju admitted in a letter of confession in 2009 -- since retracted -- that he had overstated profits for years and inflated the company's balance sheet by more than $1 billion. The court in Hyderabad had summoned Raju and the other accused on Monday when the judge was expected to move closer to handing down his verdict.


But the court was told the judge was on leave, and the case was adjourned until August 11 when a date for the verdict was again expected to be announced. A lawyer involved in the case told AFP that the delays were not surprising given the high volume of documents under consideration.


The trial concluded last June after the judge examined 216 witnesses and 3,038 documents were submitted, according to the Press Trust of India news agency. Raju has been out on bail since November 2011 after spending several years behind bars after he was charged over the scandal.


Prosectors say the fraud caused a loss of 140 billion rupees ($2.3 billion) to Satyam shareholders, while the defence says the accused were not responsible for any wrongdoing and all the documents filed by investigators were fabricated, PTI has reported.

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