Many would have heard about Ketan Parekh and how he defrauded Gujarat’s Madhavpura Mercantile Cooperative Bank to play the stock markets. But not many know about the man who worked to save the bank from collapse. Veteran chartered accountant M M Chitale not only played a key role in saving MMCB, but also refused to accept any fees for his services.
It was after the Chitale Committee’s recommendations that the bank was allowed to make payments under an administrative restructuring scheme for the first time. MMCB owed almost Rs 665 crore to 268 cooperative banks and was allowed to pay it back in instalments over three years.
Few were, therefore, surprised when this 61-year-old partner in accounting firm Mukund M Chitale & Co was recently asked to accept chairmanship of the National Advisory Committee on Accounting Standards (NACAS). NACAS is the apex body for formulation and implementation accounting standards in the country. As chairman, Chitale’s main challenge will be to see the successful convergence of the International Financial Reporting Standards with India’s Income-Tax Act and Companies Act.
But, that should not pose a problem, for Chitale is no novice to accounting intricacies. Besides running his CA practice of almost 40 years, he works on several government committees. These include a group for the merger of cooperative banks and on an advisory board on bank, commercial and financial frauds (both constituted by Reserve Bank of India), as well as the Banking Codes & Standards Board of India. That’s not all. Chitale is also an independent director on the board of several companies like L&T, L&T General Insurance, Essel Propack and Shriram Transport Finance.
Chitale’s colleagues describe him as a perfectionist. That explains his rather radical decision to apply for an ISO 9000 quality certificate for his firm in 2000. Many of his peers found this odd, especially for someone, who makes a living out of auditing the financials reported by corporations like RBI, State Bank of India and Life Insurance Corporation.
But then, Chitale is someone who, as chairman of the audit committee of ONGC, had met the comptroller & auditor general in advance to ensure the audited reports of state-owned firm complied with the requirements of the exchequer — an achievement that found special mention in the 2003-04 annual report of ONGC.