The government has set up a panel to review the existing mechanism to deal with misconduct among chartered accountants, cost accountants and company secretaries. A six-member high level committee, with retired IAS officer Meenakshi Datta Ghosh as chairperson, has been constituted by the Corporate Affairs Ministry recently.
The panel has the mandate to “look into issues related to disposal of the disciplinary cases in the professional institutes”. The apex groupings representing the chartered accountants, cost accountants and company secretaries are considered as professional institutes. They come under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
Setting up of the committee also comes against the backdrop of some members from these streams coming under the scanner of investigative agencies for alleged professional misconduct. The panel would examine the “existing provisions in the Acts, rules and regulations for dealing with cases of misconduct in the three institutes” as well as suggest possible amendments.
This is being done to strengthen the current mechanism in place and ensure speedy disposal of the disciplinary cases, among others, as per a recent order issued by the Ministry. Ghosh, who had served as secretary at the Panchayat Raj Ministry, would be the chairperson of the panel.
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Other members are former Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) chairman R K Tiwari, ex-additional controller of Defence Accounts Bindu Agnihotri, former chief commissioner of Income Tax Amit Chatterjee, Supreme Court advocate Nalin Kohli and joint director at the Corporate Affairs Ministry D Bandopadhyay.
According to the order, the panel would look at various options, including compilation of a manual on disciplinary procedure and time limit for completion of disciplinary proceedings. It would also examine the possibility of imposing penalty on entities making complaints on “frivolous grounds or to settle personal scores”.
On April 13, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) had said that disciplinary “proceedings” have been initiated against members allegedly involved in money laundering through dubious companies.
ICAI’s statement came on a day when the Enforcement Directorate conducted raids at the offices of chartered accountants in the national capital who were allegedly involved in money laundering through shell companies.