"It was like riding a tiger and not knowing how to get off without being eaten.''
That was how Byrraju Ramalinga Raju described his status at Satyam Computer Services in a five-page letter on January 7, 2009 to his board of directors.
Whether he got off the tiger or had fallen off it, what is certain is that he made a huge dent in the lives of the 53,000 employees of the company and that of his shareholders apart from hurting the image of the Indian IT outsourcing story.
What he revealed was not just that there was no cash in the balance sheet of the company but that revenues were overstated (apparently to show higher profits and better valuation).
With a fiction to the tune of over Rs 7,000 crore on account of fraud in terms of the overstatement of revenue, profit, and cash on hand, the Satyam fiasco is now being seen as the largest scandal in the history of corporate India.
Prior to making this public, as is apparent below, he had enraged his investors and shareholders with an aborted attempt to acquire two unrelated companies, which, he now justifies as "the last attempt to fill the fictitious assets with real ones.''
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