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    Sebi challenges SAT ruling in PwC-Satyam case

    Synopsis

    The tribunal had quashed the order but partly allowed disgorgement of the Rs 13 crore fee from the auditors concerned.

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    Markets watchdog Sebi has challenged Securities Appellate Tribunal's decision to quash a two-year ban that was imposed on Price Waterhouse in connection with the Rs 7,800 crore Satyam fraud, according to sources.

    Securities Exchange and Board of India (Sebi) has moved the Supreme Court against the tribunal's ruling that was passed on September 9, they added.

    On January 10, 2018, the watchdog slapped a two-year ban on Price Waterhouse (PwC), an arm of PwC India, from auditing any listed company in connection with PwC's role in the Satyam scam.

    The tribunal had quashed the order but partly allowed disgorgement of the Rs 13 crore fee from the auditors concerned.

    The fraud at erstwhile Satyam Computer Services came to light on January 8, 2009 wherein the company's founder Ramalinga Raju publicly admitted to cooking the books to the tune of Rs 5,004 crore over a period of time. A Sebi probe had found that the scam was much larger at Rs 7,800 crore.

    Setting aside the ban, the tribunal had said that only the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) can take any action against auditors and that frauds cannot be proved on the basis of negligence in auditing.

    Among other observations, the tribunal had pointed out that Sebi has no authority to look into the quality of audit and auditing services.

    "Sebi can only take remedial and preventative action. The direction issued is neither remedial nor preventive but punitive," it had said.
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