Accounting regulator Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has dashed off notices to Anil Ambani-promoted Reliance Infrastructure Ltd (R-Infra ) and Reliance Natural Resources Ltd (RNRL, since merged with Reliance Power ), seeking clarifications over Sebi's consent order while also asking for their audited balance sheets for three financial years starting 2006-07 . In addition, it has asked Sebi if it noticed any lapses on the part of the auditors - Price Waterhouse and Chaturvedi & Shah - during the course of its investigations.
We have drawn their (the companies) attention to the consent order and to the investigation carried out by SEBI and also to the policy of rotation of auditors adopted by them. We have asked for the audited balance sheet of the companies for the year 2006-07 , 2007-08 , and 2008-09 , while seeking clarifications on the reasons for accepting the policy of rotation of auditors, ICAI president Amarjit Chopra told TOI.
When contacted, a spokesperson for Reliance Infra said, Rel Infra deeply surprised at media comments reportedly by ICAI. Rel Infra has received no queries questioning its accounts from ICAI. Auditors have informed Rel Infra they have received no queries from ICAI. Rel Infra will take strongest legal action against irresponsible and defamatory statements in this regard.
In the letter to Sebi, Chopra said the market regulator was requested to help in identifying whether the auditors were at fault. He said the Sebi order had observed that the two companies will be implementing a policy of rotating their statutory auditors from the financial year 2010-11 . Accordingly , the auditors of March 31, 2010 will not be reappointed for the next year.
In connection to the above, Sebi has been requested to let us know that while carrying out their investigation, had they come across misconduct , if any, on the part of any of the member of ICAI while discharging their professional duties. If yes, they may kindly send us the details with evidence.
Chopra said Sebi officials might be asked to appear before ICAI as witness in the case. ICAI is also writing to the auditors separately, asking for details on the consent order. We have not received any communication from ICAI pertaining to the Reliance Infrastructure audit. We were joint auditors along with Chaturvedi & Shah, and were rotated out in December 2010, as per auditor rotation policy of the company, PriceWaterhouse said in an emailed response. Chopa said ICAI was taking up the matter on an urgent basis as public interest was at stake. There would be no undue delay in the matter. We expect to get replies soon after which we will take steps.
In its consent order on January 14, Sebi had barred senior ADAG executives, including Anil Ambani, from investing in secondary markets in 2011, while two group companies were also barred.
R-Infra to consider share buyback
Mumbai:Reliance Infrastructure on Wednesday said that its board will meet on February 14 to consider a share buyback programme. No other information was provided in its notice to the bourses. Earlier in the day, the R-Infra stock had crashed nearly 19% on the BSE because of various news reports related to the group as well as rumours. In intra-day trade, the stock was down 25% to dip to a 52-week low of Rs 493. Earlier in February 2009, the company had announced a share buyback programme during which it spent Rs 700 crore. Buyback programmes, during which companies usually buy its own shares from its shareholders through open market purchases, help lift stock price.