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World Bank bans Satyam, Wipro, Megasoft

New Delhi, Jan 12: Even before the dust settled on the controversy involving Satyam's debarment, the World Bank on Monday revealed that action has been taken against a total of five entities in India, including Wipro Technologies, and an individual.

The action was initiated against these entities and individual as they were found to have "violated the fraud and corruption provisions of the Procurement Guidelines or the Consultant Guidelines," besides offering improper benefits to Bank staff.
Megasoft became the third Indian software vendor to have attracted the Bank's ire, while Nestor Pharmaceuticals and Gap International were non-IT entities. An individual Surendra Singh was barred from doing business with the Bank for violating guidelines.

While Wipro was barred for four years beginning June 2007 for "providing improper benefits to Bank staff", Megasoft barred for an identical period beginning December 2007 for "participating in a joint venture with Bank staff while also conducting business with the Bank."

The report further added that a multi-million-dollar software facility being built on Deak in University's campus in Geelong is also under a cloud as the future of Satyam remains uncertain.

On Wednesday, Satyam's founder-chairman B Ramalinga Raju admitted of inflating the accounts of the firm and was later arrested with B Rama Raju, his brother and co-founder, on charges of criminal breach of trust, criminal conspiracy, cheating, falsification of records and forgery.

Satyam chief financial officer Srinivas Vadlamani was also arrested on Saturday. The Satyam fraud case has forced the Indian government to appoint three members to the board of Satyam after it dismissed the incumbent board to restore investors confidence.

In a statement late last night, the World Bank said that it decided to "make public the names of all the companies that have been debarred from receiving direct contracts from the Bank group under its corporate procurement programme.

"This change was made in the interest of fairness and transparency... From now on the Bank group would publicly list names of companies debarred from its corporate procurement."

Commenting on the World Bank action, Wipro said in a statement this morning: "Our inability to get future business from World Bank will not adversely affect our business and results of operations."

Megasoft officials too said that the debarment will not have no revenue implication for the company. Earlier, Satyam, which was debarred for eight years beginning September 2008, had demanded an apology for making public its name and withdrawal of what it called "inappropriate" statement by the Bank. The Bank had refused to apologise.

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