|Raju: Battery of lawyers
Hyderabad, Jan. 19: Former Satyam chief B. Ramalinga Raju is banking on a team of 25 legal eagles, some of whom have handled cases associated with the Telugu Desam leadership or the erstwhile state government led by the party, to put across his case in courtrooms.
At the helm of the defence team is Padmanabha Reddy, who was advocate-general during the reign of Chandrababu Naidu. Some of the lawyers are experts in criminal and company law and the capital market.
The 25 have been handpicked from the battery of lawyers who represented Satyam and the Maytas companies.
A well-known criminal lawyer of Hyderabad, Reddy, as advocate-general, had defended Naidu in a case filed by the Congress charging the former chief minister with accumulating disproportionate assets.
He had also represented a daughter of the late Desam patriarch, N.T. Rama Rao, in her divorce case and appeared for investors who lost money in the Global Trust Bank scam.
Reddy, who practises in the high court and the Supreme Court, is considered an expert in capital punishment cases and is renowned for securing parole and bail for even those with prima facie murder charges.
Legal sources said lawyers in his league charge around Rs 5 lakh per day for a court appearance, if outside Hyderabad, and about Rs 2 lakh per day within the city.
The legal team operates from a spacious bungalow in Jubilee Hills which has a 24x7 support service, including computer operators, typists, researchers and also goodwill workers from the Raju community, many members of which have rallied behind the disgraced icon now in police custody.
Besides Padmanabha Reddy, the other luminaries in charge of preparing Rajus defence are Prakash Reddy, an expert in company law, and S.R. Ashok, who specialises in taxation and affairs relating to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi).
But the Man Friday of the team is Bharat Kumar, who deals with Raju on a day-to-day basis. Kumar is known for his links with the Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee.
The legal team takes daily briefings from Kumar, who meets Raju every morning. The Rajus have opened up an escrow account (where a committed amount is kept for a specific purpose) for the legal team which is operated by Kumar and a member of the Raju family.
A team has also been set up in London with UK advocates to fight out the class action suits being slapped on Raju.