Centre seeks clarity from PWC on its operations, plans

Centre seeks clarity from PWC on its operations, plans

Salman Khurshid

The government has sought clarity from auditing firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) about their operations and business plans in India.

“Come back with a plan. What is that you are responsible for? What is that you should be responsible for?” Corporate Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid told PTI while replying to questions about his meeting with senior representatives of PWC early this week. PWC has been in the news for the wrong reasons as its auditors were involved in auditing the books of accounts of fraud-stricken Satyam Computer Services.

Regretting that there was no clarity on the working of the big four auditing firms, the Minister said, “I think it is an unsatisfactory situation - they practice and they don’t practice... First be clear (on) what you want to do in this country and how and then take responsibility for what you do”.  The big four auditing forms in the country are PWC, KPMG, Deloitte and Ernst and Young. On the agenda of the meeting with PWC representatives, Khurshid said, “ (the meeting) has nothing to do specifically with Satyam matter, but it’s got to do with sustainable permanent arrangement that should be there for foreign firm practising in India”.

Guilty auditors

Accounting regulator ICAI, in its report submitted to the Government last month, has found Price Waterhouse—the auditors of erstwhile Satyam Computer—guilty.
The disciplinary committee of the ICAI has found four auditors from Price Waterhouse —S Gopalakrishnan, Srinivas Talluri, P Shiva Prasad and C H Ravindranath prima facie guilty of professional misconduct, the institutes’s president Uttam Prakash Agarwal said.

Earlier, in a presentation made to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, to give a picture about the operations of the big four accounting firms, the Chartered Accountant’s Action Committee had brought out some interesting facts about the ownership and operating style of the firms.

The presentation raised questions like “Who is their owner?” “Even though present in over 120 countries, for obvious reasons each one of them is headquartered in a tax haven,” the body said.

Further it also presented facts like they have been paid billions of dollars as fine in the US alone to the SEC, while in the UK they are being subjected to investigations under the Fair Trade Practices Act.

The MCA had also asked ICAI to seek information from the foreign firms operating in India as to on what terms and conditions they allow Indian accounting firms to use their names. The responses, however, the ICAI said, is awaited.