Even as the Satyam saga continues to unfold the tortuous trail of deceipt, snags and delays are adding to the woes of the investigators. In the latest twist, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) today announced that Price Waterhouse – Satyam's statutory auditor over the past six years is seeking more time to respond to the show cause notice from the regulator.
ICAI had asked Price Waterhouse on January 10 to file its response by January 31, giving the firm 21 days. Price Waterhouse has failed to file a response within the given time period the ICAI said.
Price Waterhouse has meanwhile issued a prompt rebuttal of the accusation. It claimed that the firm had given the explanation in full detail to the institute. It said that it is individual auditors S Gopalakrishnan and Srinivas Talluri who have not submitted their response. The two auditors are under police custody in Hyderabad and are seeking extension being unable to reply to ICAI.
However, in a statement to the media the firm has said, ''Price Waterhouse always has, and will, continue to co-operate fully with all relevant authorities and regulators.''
Talluri and Gopalakrishnan, the Price Waterhouse auditors working on the Satyam account were arrested on 24 January by the Andhra Pradesh police. They allegedly worked with Satyam promoter B Ramalinga Raj in doctoring company accounts.
Meanwhile the enforcement directorate has reportedly stepped in and has filed an 'enforcement case information report' (ECIR). The case has been filed under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act in the Satyam Computer Services case.
The report says there may be a prima facie case against many of the people connected with the fraud-hit Satyam including its former directors and auditors.
The agency wanted the affairs to be investigated further.
On Monday, the Crime Investigation Department (CID) sought custody of Gopalakrishnan and Talluri for five days.
Sixth additional chief metropolitan magistrate D Ramakrishna heard arguments over the application seeking police custody of the duo and reserved orders for Tuesday.
According to the prosecution the two auditors needed to be interrogated as their antecedents are questionable.
It said Price Waterhouse, the firm which the duo claimed to represent had no branch office in Hyderabad and the headquarters of the firm in Bangalore did not recognise them
as partners. However, they certified the accounts of Satyam as partners of Price Waterhouse, Hyderabad.
The auditors, in fact, were registered with ICAI as partners of Lovelock and Lewis, a Kolkata-headquartered firm with an office in Hyderabad.
In response, defence counsel C Masthan Naidu produced a copy of a certificate issued by ICAI, indicating a Price Waterhouse branch in Hyderabad.