The Securities Appellate Tribunal will tomorrow hear Price Waterhouse's pleas challenging Sebi ruling that had barred the firm and its network entities from taking up new audit work for listed companies. The markets regulator, on January 10, had passed an order against the audit major for its alleged complicity in the multi-crore Satyam Computer Services scam. After taking up the matter on February 13, the tribunal had scheduled further hearing on February 16. The matter was to be heard by a bench of two -- judicial member Jog Singh and technical member CKG Nair -- as the presiding officer had recused himself in the case. However, on February 13, Nair was not present as he was on leave.
Then it was argued that a single bench member is not entitled to hear the prayer of the appellant (PW) for grant of interim relief. Citing provisions of Sebi Act and SAT rules, Singh, in an order dated February 13, said that a single member in the absence of any other member and presiding officer is not precluded from hearing urgent matters on the question of interim relief at least, provided there is authorisation by the presiding officer. "Registry is directed to list these appeals on February 15, 2018 for final disposal before an appropriate bench," the order said. Sebi has imposed a two-year ban on entities/ firms practising as chartered accountants 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. According to the regulator, its order would not impact audit assignments relating to the financial year 2017-18 undertaken by the firms forming part of the PW network. On January 11, PW had said there had been no intentional wrongdoings by its firms and partners in the Satyam case and had expressed confidence of getting a stay on the Sebi order.
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