ICAI sets up panel to protect CAs from becoming “soft targets”

K.R. Srivats | | Updated on: May 23, 2022

The panel will submit report preferably within a month, says ICAI President Debashis Mitra

Faced with frequent incidents of Chartered Accountants’ arrests, the CA Institute has set up a “group” to recommend standard operating procedures to ensure just and fair treatment to CAs, and to protect them from becoming soft targets. 

“After detailed discussion at our central council meeting on May 19-20, we have formed a group (of central council members) to look into what kind of SOPs should be there regarding arrest of CAs,” Debashis Mitra, President, Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), told BusinessLine.

‘Reasonable opportunity’

Mitra felt there should be some procedures for this, such as under what circumstances should one be arrested and what precautions should be taken by both the police and by CAs.

“The group is expected to give a report at the earliest, preferably within a month. We will not going into legal aspects of individuals or fight certain cases. What the ICAI is saying is that before you take drastic action of arresting anyone, give them an opportunity to be heard. Don’t make CAs soft target,” Mitra said.

Mitra asserted that the recent arrest of two chartered accountants (in Gurugram) this past week was not what provoked ICAI to form this group.

“The provocation is what is generally happening around the country, where the profession gets a bad name when CAs are arrested,” he noted.

“What we want is a reasonable opportunity of being heard. We have become soft targets while the actual perpetrators of the frauds get off scot-free. Since CAs are always available, whoever has signed balance sheet is caught,” he added.

Disciplinary system

Mitra highlighted that ICAI has a “robust disciplinary system” and law enforcement can refer any matter to it.

“The new CA Act lays down timeliness in completing disciplinary process and the process can be swift,” Mitra said. 

Mitra said that ICAI can frame guidelines based on the recommendations of the group of central council members.

Meanwhile, sources said the recent arrest of chartered accountants, and other such instances of ill-treatment by investigating authorities were discussed in the Central Council meeting on May 20.

The council members had expressed their strong resentment on the manner in which certain officers are treating CAs and directly resorting to arrests, sources said.

Published on May 23, 2022
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