PricewaterhouseCoopers offices searched in Satyam probe

Indian police searched the offices of PricewaterhouseCoopers, the auditors of the beleaguered outsourcing giant Satyam Computers, as the investigation into the country's largest ever alleged corporate fraud continued yesterday.

Officers in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad, where Satyam is based, said they had searched the offices of the firm's London-based auditors, PricewaterhouseCoopers, which also has offices in the city. A senior officer, VS Kumudi, confirmed the search but provided few other details as to what in particular the officers were searching for.

The auditors yesterday failed to respond to inquiries, but last week the firm issued a statement saying it had worked "in accordance with applicable auditing standards and were supported by appropriate audit evidence".

It added: "Given our obligations for client confidentiality, it is not possible for us to comment upon the alleged irregularities. PricewaterhouseCoopers will fully meet its obligations to cooperate with the regulators and others."

Yesterday's search coincided with a decision by the Indian government to order its federal fraud office to launch an inquiry into the scandal. The government said the investigators had been asked to report back in three months. The investigation, said Prem Chand Gupta, the minister for company affairs, was ordered after a report by the registrar of companies.

The move was seen as part of a broader effort to protect the country's reputation for international investment, which has taken a pounding since last week. Since then, other Indian companies have come under scrutiny, with the software firm Wipro hit by an announcement from the World Bank, which has banned any transactions with the company for allegedly pursuing inappropriate steps to bag deals.

In addition to the reputation of Indian business is the matter of the jobs of 55,000 Satyam staff, who work for clients such as ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steelmaker, and Telstra, Australia's biggest phone company.

The investigation is "a test case" for the Serious Fraud Investigation Office, said CL Bansal, who teaches corporate law at the Management Development Institute in Gurgaon, a satellite city near Delhi. "It will send a message to all other companies and prevent them from any wrongdoing."

In an announcement that shocked India's business community and its international backers, Satyam's founder, B Ramalinga Raju, last week admitted altering the company's accounts for years. Its balance sheets were full of fictitious assets and money that did not exist. Well over $1bn (£689m) was missing.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operations Manager

£43500 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operatio...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - LONDON

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000 + Car + Pension: SThree: SThree are a ...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there