The Supreme Court today directed accounting regulator ICAI to initiate disciplinary proceedings against Talluri Srinivas, auditor embroiled in the multi-crore Satyam accounting fraud, only after October 3. A bench of Justices D K Jain and A K Ganguly asked the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) to proceed against Srinivas only after October 3 as the criminal trail of the special court, set up for the Satyam scam case, may conclude its hearing by then.
However, the bench clarified that if the Hyderabad-based special court does not complete its trail by then, ICAI would commence its proceedings against the former Price Waterhouse auditor. The disciplinary proceedings can’t be stayed indefinitely, said the apex court.
“These are professional institutions and we should not interfere much into that,” it added.
It also said, “ICAI shall ensure that the date fixed by it for hearing does not clash with the trial”.
The Supreme Court’s direction came on a petition filed by Srinivas, requesting the court to stay the ICAI action as he was simultaneously facing the similar case in the trail of special court in Hyderabad.
Earlier, the Delhi High Court had dismissed Talluri’s plea to stall the inquiry and directed ICAI to proceed against him as well as S Gopalakrishnan, another former auditor of Price Waterhouse.
After the Satyam scandal came to light in January 2009 after it promoter B Ramalinga Raju confessed to siphoning off hundreds of crores of rupees from the company by fabricating accounts, ICAI had framed four auditors for professional misconduct.
While Talluri is out on bail, three others — Gopalakrishnan, Vadlamni Srinivas, former CFO, and V Prabhakar Gupta, former internal auditor — are still behind bars.
The CBI chargesheet has alleged that external auditors were paid hefty sums to cook up company accounts, thus becoming part of the crime.