India's market regulator has slapped a multi-million dollar fine on the former chief of IT group Satyam and his aides, for manipulating the firm's shares in a scandal dubbed "India's Enron".
Satyam chief B Ramalinga Raju, his brother B Rama Raju, and former top executives of the firm Vadlamani Srinivas, G Ramakrishna and VS Prabhakara Gupta, have been ordered to return 18.5bn rupees ($308m, £180m, €227m) worth of unlawful gains with interest within 45 days, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) said late 15 June.
The five men have also been banned from the securities market for 14 years.
Sebi has found the five men guilty of preparing fake bank statements, inflating sales, mis-stating the books of accounts, creating mismatches in tax deduction numbers and actively hiding the firm's true financial position.
Further, it held them guilty of making announcements related to bonus shares, buy-backs and other announcements based on the manipulated financial position.
The regulator also found them guilty of insider trading.
The Sebi order, which marked the end of a five-and-a-half year long probe, comes ahead of the conclusion of the Satyam fraud trial.
A special court trying 10 people over one of India's biggest ever corporate fraud scandals is to pronounce a verdict on 28 July.
In its 65-page order, Sebi has said that Raju and his aides "...committed a sophisticated white collar financial fraud with pre-meditated and well thought of plan and deliberate design for personal gains and to the detriment of the company and investors in its securities."
Sebi member Rajeev Kumar Agarwal wrote in the order: "I am convinced that this is a case where befitting enforcement action is necessary to send a stern message to the market to create an effective deterrence."
Satyam founder Ramalinga Raju has been out on bail since November 2011, after spending about three years in prison.
In April 2011, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) slapped a $7.5m fine on Satyam's former auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
The SEC said the auditor, PW India, failed to independently verify cash balances in Satyam bank accounts.
Tech Mahindra, a unit of Indian vehicle and farm equipment maker Mahindra and Mahindra, bought Hyderabad-based Satyam in April 2009, a move that saved the IT outsourcing firm from collapse, thus protecting employee and shareholder interests.
The Satyam scandal broke out when Ramalinga Raju admitted in a letter in 2009 -- since retracted -- that he had overstated profits for years and that he inflated Satyam's balance sheet by over $1bn.
US energy giant Enron collapsed in 2001 after one of the biggest accounting frauds in US history.