New Delhi, Jan 30 (IANS) A man whose income tax account details were stolen by his wife and brother-in-law, who is a Chartered Accountant by profession, has moved the Delhi High Court seeking directions to lay down policies related to time-bound disposal of complaints against chartered accountants by The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.
The plea was filed by one Shekhar who has told the court that ICAI “is guilty of deliberately going slow” on the complaints cases filed against its members which is the prime reason for increasing pendency of cases against Chartered Accountants.
He has cited an RTI reply provided to him.
“In the RTI, it was revealed that ICAI has disposed off only 19 matters out of 662 cases lodged in 2017. While in 2016, ICAI has disposed off 147 out of total 460 cases registered that year,” Shekhar’s advocate Arpit Bhargava said.
He requested the court to issue directions to lay down and implement guidelines/policies in relation to time bound disposal of complaints/cases against chartered accountants which are pending disposal for a long time due to the lackadaisical attitude of the ICAI.
Admitting his plea, the Delhi High Court has issued notice to the ICAI and listed the matter for further hearing on July 19.
The man, in his plea filed by advocate Arpit Bhargava, apprised the court that ICAI regulates the profession of Chartered Accountancy and is responsible for licensing and regulating the financial audit and accountancy profession. The ICAI’s members are subject to a code of ethics and professional standards and conduct.
He said that his brother-in-law Deepak Bhardwaj is guilty of professional misconduct as he has abused his position as a member of the ICAI. He has asked the ICAI to cancel Bhardwaj’s membership with immediate effect.
He also told the court that his wife and CA Bhardwaj were chargesheeted by Delhi Police on January 22, 2018, under the provisions of the Information Technology Act.
The man told the court that he and his wife are embroiled in matrimonial litigation since 2016. His wife with the help of her maternal cousin Bhardwaj has extracted his financial information. He accused them of stealing personal information, making changes without permission, committing online fraud and professional misconduct in 2016.
He demanded that the ICAI take strict action against Bhardwaj.
However, the ICAI on July 4, 2018 closed the case without suspending the licence of Bhardwaj saying that the complaint was related to a family dispute and Bhardwaj was made a party to such disputes.
The man challenging the ICAI decision, in his plea, said: It was done without giving any opportunity of hearing to the petitioner (man). It is submitted that the Board of Discipline failed to consider the findings of the investigation conducted by the Police as mentioned in the chargesheet.”
“ICAI failed to appreciate that Bhardwaj misused his position as a professional to hack and access into the online account of the petitioner and change the login details of the online income tax account,” the plea filed by advocate Arpit Bhargava said.
He said the ICAI is shielding Bhardwaj despite the chargesheet clearly establishing that Bhardwaj illegally accessed details of the petitioner not only on June 5, 2016 but also on August 24 2016.
(Amiya Kumar Kushwaha can be reached at [email protected])