Millennium Post

IL&FS case: NCLAT seeks clarity on proceedings against auditors

New Delhi: Hearing a plea here by the former auditors of IL&FS Financial Services (IFIN) -- Deloitte Haskins and Sells LLP, and BSR and Associates -- the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) on Thursday asked the Corporate Affairs Ministry to clarify whether civil proceedings, as sought by the Ministry against the audit firms, can be carried out on the basis of a criminal report .

The ministry has cited the interim report of the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) alleging collusion by the auditors with the IFIN management in concealing information, among other charges. The ministry had sought freezing of the assets of the audit firms based on the report. The bench will next hear the matter on Friday.

NCLAT Chairman Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya said that interim relief can be passed, as Parliament has said, under the Company's Act in the interest of the company, but whether an interim order can be passed in the interest of the people remains a matter of interpretation, adding there needs to be clarity before such orders can be passed.

Counsels of the both the audit firms said that the firms cannot be prosecuted as they are no more the statutory auditors of IFIN and are not in the management.

The Mumbai-branch of the NCLT had impleaded both the firms saying that the tribunal has the jurisdiction to hear a plea on banning the firms.

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