The corporate affairs ministry (MCA) will examine markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India’s (Sebi’s) order against audit major Price Waterhouse in the Satyam Computer Services case, Union Minister P P Chaudhary said on Thursday.
On Wednesday, Sebi barred Price Waterhouse’s network entities from issuing audit certificates to any listed firm in India for two years after finding the audit major guilty in the multi-crore Satyam scam.
Besides, the regulator has directed disgorgement of over Rs 130 million wrongful gains by the audit major and its two erstwhile partners who worked on the IT major's accounts. When asked about Sebi's order against Price Waterhouse and whether the ministry would be looking at having stricter norms for auditors in the wake of that order, Chaudhary said, “We will examine it.” “There are already stringent norms and the only question is about execution,” he said in response to a query on whether there are plans to have stricter norms in place for auditors.
Sebi has imposed a two-year ban on entities/ firms practicing as chartered accountants in India under the brand and banner of PW from directly or indirectly issuing any certificate of audit of listed companies, compliance of obligations of listed companies and intermediaries registered with the regulator.
Sebi noted that the order would not impact audit assignments relating to the financial year 2017-18 undertaken by the firms forming part of the PW network. Besides, Price Waterhouse Bangalore and its two erstwhile partners — S Gopalakrishnan and Srinivas Talluri — have been directed to jointly and severally disgorge the wrongful gains of “Rs 13,09,01,664 with interest calculated at the rate of 12 per cent per annum from January 7, 2009, till the date of payment.”
They have to pay the amount within 45 days.
Further, Gopalakrishnan and Talluri have been restrained from directly or indirectly issuing any certificate of audit of listed companies, compliance of obligations of listed companies and intermediaries registered with Sebi for three years.
The scam came to light in January 2009 after Satyam Computer's then chairman B Ramalinga Raju admitted to large scale financial manipulations in the company's books of accounts.