New Delhi, January 13, 2018

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has renewed its demand for powers to act against audit firms in case of wrongdoing after the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) banned Price Waterhouse (PW) from auditing listed companies for two years, starting April, for its involvement in the Satyam scam.

"While the ICAI may not like to specifically comment on the order passed by Sebi, we would like to add that under the present provisions of the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949, there are no powers presently vested with ICAI for taking action against CA firms. The ICAI has already sent its recommendation in the year 2010 to the ministry of corporate affairs for making amendments in the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949, to enable taking disciplinary action against CA firms," the institute said in a statement, two days after the market regulator's order.

The fresh pitch comes at atime when the government is looking to set up a National Advisory Committee on Accounting Standards (NACAS) that will cut down ICAI's role. A group of auditors who had lobbied for years to block NACAS are still opposed to the move. ICAI is under attack from the government for what it believes is its poor track record in disciplinary action.

On Friday, ICAI sought to take credit for acting against auditors of Satyam, saying it was first off the blocks when the matter came to the fore in January 2009. "ICAI had initiated disciplinary cases against six members concerned and despite several legal hurdles and other impediments like the respondents were in judicial custody, ICAI had proceeded with its disciplinary process in terms of the CA Act and the rules framed there under. The ICAI had awarded the maximum penalty of removal from membership permanently and imposition of monetary penalty on members of ICAI involved in the matter," it said.

[The Times of India]