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ICAI to examine whole of PW in Satyam scam
February, 07th 2009

The Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) has initiated probe against 25 individuals and 325 companies related to Satyam. That includes Pricewaterhouse Bangalore, the auditors of the firm. At a time when the government is acting against the auditor in this case,  the question that arises now is, will the ICAI act?

The new man in charge of the ICAI Uttam Agarwal said the ICAI never investigates a small amount and is investigating Satyam scam because PriceWaterhouse is involved and it is a great issue for the country. "Why we talk about PW Bangalore is because we know this is a great issue for the country and when we know that PriceWaterhouse is involved we at the disciplinary committee are examining the whole of PriceWaterhouse, not only Bangalore."

On the delay of ICAI's proceedings he said, "We are the quasi-judicial body and we have to follow the procedure as laid down in our acts. It is not a delay, unless and until we do not investigate the matter in detail, and if we give our findings, our orders i.e. of the disciplinary committee are also challengeable in court. If we come under the pressure of either media or public and give our findings that this case is against PriceWaterhouse or partner and they go to court and the court grants a stay, then it is a very difficult task for us."

Here is a verbatim transcript of the exclusive interview with Uttam Agarwal

Q: The ICAI is already probing this matter now. But we understand that the SFIO will probe directly the situation as far as PriceWaterhouse Bangalore is concerned. How does this fit in with the probe that you are currently on?

A: The ICAI never investigates a small amount. Why we talk about PW Bangalore is because we know this is a great issue for the country and when we know that PriceWaterhouse is involved we at the disciplinary committee are examining the whole of PriceWaterhouse, not only Bangalore.

Q: Where do things currently stand as far as your disciplinary proceedings are concerned because we have seen several delays, for instance in the Global Trust Bank (GTB) since 2004 we havent reached a conclusion.

A: We are the quasi-judicial body and we have to follow the procedure as laid down in our acts. It is not a delay, unless and until we do not investigate the matter in detail, and if we give our findings, our orders i.e. of the disciplinary committee are also challengeable in court. If we come under the pressure of either media or public and give our findings that this case is against PriceWaterhouse or partner and they go to court and the court grants a stay, then it is a very difficult task for us.

Q: It has been over a month now and PriceWaterhouse has not even responded to your showcause notice. What specific steps are you likely to take?

A: ICAI is not only action oriented. We have to follow the rules and regulations, we are the quasi-judicial body. A court never gives a finding in between and initiates action against the culprits.

Regarding GTB where the disciplinary committee could not come to a conclusion and not given any findings, there are thousands of cases pending before the court for more than 10 years. There are many inquiries and investigations pending with various regulators for a number of years. Everywhere all regulators and authorities have to follow the principle of natural justice, give the proper opportunity and then come to a conclusion. Only then would it be a justification to the concerned person.

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