Holding that all is not well with the functioning of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), the Madras high court has decided to hear the CBI and the Chief Vigilance Commission (CVC) before passing orders on a PIL seeking CBI/CVC probe into the irregularities in the establishment of Rs 97.5-crore centre of excellence at Nagpur.
"The ICAI is supposed to be the apex board to regulate the affairs of the body and to monitor the functioning of its members. It also exercises disciplinary jurisdiction over its members. In case the apex body itself violates financial discipline, it is really a serious matter," observed Justice K K Sasidharan on Wednesday.
"Records indicate that all is not well with the statutory body. The council members have expressed their strong views against the president and secretary on account of entering into certain financial dealings without taking the council into confidence. The transaction is not confined to the centre of excellence at Nagpur. There are other land dealings also involving substantial amount," the judge said.
In his PIL, V Venkata Siva Kumar wanted the court to order a probe by the CBI or the CVC into the project, and 'unravel irregularities, conspiracy and criminal breach of trust' committed by the president and other office-bearers of the ICAI.
Minutes of the meeting revealed that the ICAI secretary had told the members that CVC regulations were not applicable to ICAI. The Nagpur land deal was cancelled due to protests by members.
Justice Sasidharan pointed out that though a CBI/CVC probe was sought neither of them has been included as party to the PIL proceedings. He then ordered that they be impleaded as parties so that their views could be heard before a final order is passed. "Though the petitioner wanted this court to issue a mandamus to CBI or CVC to conduct inquiry/investigation, the fact remains that CBI or CVC are not parties to this writ petition. Therefore, on a careful consideration of the matter, I hold that CBI and CVC are necessary parties to this writ petition," he said.
The judge impleaded the two central agencies as parties, and ordered notices to them as well. He also directed them to file their response by November 18.