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ICAI's Satyam report: Action in 2 months
October, 07th 2009

The government will announce action against four auditors of Price Waterhouse (PW), two offices of PW and executives of Satyam Computer Services, based on ICAI's Satyam report in two months, corporate affairs minister Salman Khurshid said on Tuesday.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) last month said that it has found S Gopalakrishnan, Srinivas Talluri, Shiva Prasad and CH Ravindranath of Price Waterhouse Bangalore guilty in the financial fraud. However, the institute did not provide details of any actions that it would take.

Khurshid said the action may include barring the auditors, but that action against the auditing firm PW could not be ascertained.

"Now, what is happening is that PW Kolkata and PW Bangalore are part of the PW overall, but we can not make them accountable on their partners' role in auditing Satyam's accounts, according to current regulations.

ICAI has submitted its report on the role of auditors in the Satyam issue, and we are studying it, all I can say right now is that am not satisfied in the way auditors have performed their operations," Khurshid told DNA.

The government earlier hinted that to clear the surrogate auditing practiced by international audit firms, it may soon ease norms for them to operate and make them more accountable.

Under current norms, only audit firms registered with the ICAI are allowed to provide full-time audit services. International audit firms cannot operate directly and are only allowed to provide certain consultancy services.

As Price Waterhouse operates in India through their partners, the ministry or ICAI cannot take any legal action against the global entity. However, the ministry is working on guidelines under which all audit firms operating in India would be accountable foraction of the employees.

Meanwhile, the ministry is looking at incentives for private firms to go public. "That would provide them cheaper source of funding and their credit ratings would automatically improve as they become more accountable," said Khurshid, adding that incentives may include "some tax benefits".

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