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By Steve Herman
New Delhi
12 January 2009

Media personnel wait outside office of Satyam Computer Services Ltd. in Hyderabad, India, 08 Jan 2009
Media personnel wait outside office of Satyam Computer Services Ltd. in Hyderabad, India, 08 Jan 2009
A race is on to try to save one of India's information technology giants that was cut down by a gigantic fraud allegedly perpetrated by its founder.  

Reeling in the wake of the biggest reported fraud in Indian corporate history, information technology consultant Satyam Computer Services might receive an emergency injection of government funds to help it survive.  

The three members of the new government-appointed board that ousted the existing directors, told reporters in Hyderabad they are working on a rescue plan, which could include temporary liquidity from the government.

Board member Deepak Parekh, the chairman of private sector housing firm HDFC, says new corporate leadership will also be put into place soon.

"The restructuring and the detailed running of the company day-to-day will be the prerogative of the senior management, the new management that will come. … We can only give direction. We can only give some strategic inputs," said Parekh. "We are not going to run the company on a day-to-day basis."

Satyam's founder B. Ramalinga Raju is under arrest after authorities announced he confessed to falsifying company accounts and assets. Raju's brother, who was also a board member, and the company's chief financial officer have also been jailed. Raju allegedly invented a cash balance of nearly $1.5 billion.

Satyam with 700 clients, including many of the world's largest corporations, has more than 50,000 employees and operates in 65 countries.

New board member Kiran Karnik expresses confidence the Satyam scandal will not undermine the $60 billion Indian IT industry.

"There has been one unfortunate, very tragic, very colossal case," said Karnik. "But that does not at all mean that the industry in any way is under a cloud. And customers, investors, vendors around the world know this."

The board members say they will appoint within two days a new accounting firm to restate the company's true financial picture. They also say the company is open to merger possibilities as one way to rescue it.
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