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Demonetisation: Narendra Modi govt hands 34 chartered accountants’ names to ICAI for money laundering investigation

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The government has shared names of 34 chartered accountants (CAs) with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) for investigation after the professionals were allegedly found to be involved in money laundering through shell companies during the demonetisation period, ICAI president Nilesh S Vikamsey said on Tuesday.

Last week, the government had said it had been found that 559 beneficiaries had laundered nearly Rs 3,900 crore with the help of 54 professionals who have been identified. It had said information was shared with various agencies, including ICAI.
The ICAI has started the process of identifying the names given to them, and show-cause notices would be issued to these professionals depending on nature of their involvement. The ICAI chief said if prima facie guilt is established in their investigation, the professionals would be taken to the disciplinary committee.“The ICAI does not have the power to temporarily suspend chartered accountants found involved in wrongdoing. We have made a representation to the government to equip us with such powers by amending the CA Act,” Vikamsey said.

Additionally, ICAI vice-president NaveenN D Gupta said the institute has made representation to the finance ministry against a provision in the finance Bill that seeks to penalise chartered accountants for furnishing incorrect information in the filing returns. Gupta said penal provisions already existed inthe Income Tax Act for these mistakes, and there was no need for Parliament toenact law for the same.The institute has also urged the financeministry to extend the tax benefit to limited liability partnership (LLPs) companies and others that are not incorporated. 

“We have asked the government to consider all the companies within the threshold of Rs 50 crore annual revenue to be covered under corporation tax of 25%,” Gupta said.

He added that such a move would encourage new companies that still have some distance to go before they are incorporated.However, in an interview with FE, revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia had said the tax relief was limited to incorporated companies as LLPs do notpay dividend tax and can also earn interest of 12% on their own capital, unlike incorporated firms.

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