New Delhi: ICAI on Tuesday said it is setting up a fast-track cell to deal with cases against chartered accountants involved in incorporating shell companies in India with Chinese links and it would aim to dispose them of by the end of the year.
Those found guilty can face a lifetime ban, among other actions.
The apex bodies of chartered accountants and company secretaries, ICAI and ICSI, have together received around 400 complaints on the issue and necessary actions have been initiated.
It was alleged that these chartered accountants (CA) and company secretaries (CS) helped incorporate Chinese shell companies in several Indian cities without complying with the rules.
Out of 400, half of the numbers could be of CAs and show cause notices have been issued to all of the members concerned by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), its President Debashis Mitra said in a press briefing.
The members have been asked to explain the alleged violations of company law with respect to the incorporation of various Chinese companies and their subsidiaries.
He, further, said that prima facie opinion has been taken against all of them.
The alleged violations are related to the formation of the companies concerned and aspects such as whether the registered addresses were checked properly or not, Mitra said.
”Papers have been signed by CAs without verifying the registered address as address did not exist and that is negligence,” he added.
After the prima facie opinion, a detailed investigation is being conducted against some of its members. This process generally takes a year but ICAI is hoping to dispose of these cases by the end of the year, the president said.
”We are setting up a different cell to dispose of these cases on a fast track basis. The government has not given any timeline to us officially but signals we get … finish the matter by the end of the year,” he added.
After ascertaining whether the members violated the company’s law, appropriate disciplinary actions would be taken against them.
The violators could be removed from lifetime too; even a month ban by ICAI can ruin their careers, Mitra said, adding that the apex body has zero tolerance against professional misconduct.
ICAI and ICSI set up under the Acts of Parliament, come under the corporate affairs ministry.
The government, in recent times, has been stepping up efforts to clamp down on Chinese entities allegedly indulging in illegal activities in the country.
On September 11, the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) arrested an individual who emerged as the mastermind behind incorporating a large number of shell companies with Chinese links in India and providing dummy directors on their boards.
The ministry arrested one Dortse, who is on the board of Jillian India Ltd. This follows simultaneous search and seizure operations conducted by the ministry on September 8 in the offices of Jillian Consultants India Private Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Jilian Hong Kong Ltd at Gurgaon, Fininty Pvt Ltd at Bangalore and Husys Consulting Ltd at Hyderabad.
Also, the ICAI president said that the apex body is going into unchartered areas like social audit and forensic audit.
”In the future, forensic audits will take hold and we have developed 23 forensic auditors,” he said.
With regard to edtech start-up Byju’s, he said that MCA has already written to the company asking explanation from the edtech startup for the delay in filing its audited financial accounts for the year ended March 31, 2021 and ”we are not looking into this”.
ICAI, which is hosting the 21st World Congress of Accountants (WCOA) for the first time in 118 years of its existence, is expecting participation from across the globe.
The event will be held from November 18 to 21 and might be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Besides, corporate leaders including Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani, yoga guru Ramdev among others are expected to attend the event, Mitra said.