The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI-Pune chapter) has suspended a training contract outsourced to a popular chartered accountancy training academy, Zawares Professional Academy, following allegations relating to conflict of interest.
The matter assumes significance as SB Zaware,proprietor of the academy, is an ICAI New Delhi council member.
We are aware of the suspension of the contract and are collecting details from our Pune office. We will cross verify the details before taking any action, G Ramaswamy, president of ICAI New Delhi, told DNA over the telephone.
ICAI-Pune chapter chairman Vijaykant Kulkarni confirmed that the training contract with the Zaware Academy had been suspended. We have sent relevant documents to our Delhi office and await their instructions.
But, Zaware denied a conflict of interest in the issuance of the contact to him. He said he was not a council member when the agreement for the training programme was signed in July 2009. He also refuted the charge that he had made profits out of the training programme.
The suspension of the training contract follows a complaint lodged by a chartered accountant to the ICAI headquarters in Delhi and the Pune office on September 12.
According to the complaint, Zaware was issued a contract to conduct the seven-day orientation course for CA aspirants in July 2009 by ICAI Pune under the chairmanship of Milind Gramopadhye, who was serving as the statutory auditor of Zaware Academy.
The complaint states that the ICAI rules specify that the orientation training had to be undertaken by the ICAI branch themselves. Further, Zaware was later elected as council member of the ICAI New Delhi in December 2009, and he continued to run the training programme without informing the headquarters.
The matter came to light as late as August 2011 during the annual general body meeting of the ICAI Pune, when some members raised questions about related party payments. It was then that the ICAI treasurer realised that cheques were being made in favour of the Zaware Academy.
According to Zaware, ICAI Pune had paid him Rs1,000 per student and he had trained a total of 449 students during February 2010-September 2011, after being elected as an ICAI member.
Zaware said the monies being made to him barely covered his costs, claiming that he paid Rs725 per hour to his tutors. When asked why he had not informed ICAI Delhi about the contract, he said: There is no provision in the ICAI rules which demands a disclosure. In any case, I did not inform the ICAI as I was not making any profit.