Mystery over PMC Bank's audit firm deepens: Moneylife report

Last Updated: Thu, Oct 03, 2019 11:12 hrs
FILE PHOTO - Commuters walk past a bank sign along a road in New Delhi

Mumbai: The mystery of PMC Bank's audit firm Lakdawala & Co has deepened after no physical trace of the company has been found.

According to a report by media company Moneylife, Lakdawala & Co had audited the PMC Bank for FY2018-19. In its report, it had mentioned about doubtful recovery of assets against which a provision of Rs 26.82 crore has been made by the bank.

This morning, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) issued a press release claiming to have initiated disciplinary action against the firm, the report said.

Moneylife was told by Mumbai chartered accountants (CAs) active in professional CA bodies that they had not come across the firm in their interactions.

"Brajesh Mishra of Zee News, however tracked down the firm's office address, only to find it locked and located in a housing society in Borivali with no board or nameplate to indicate its existence," the report said.

"But it now appears that Ladkawala & Co and its chartered account (CA) partner KP Lakdawala (Membership No.035633) may have its fingers in many more dangerously sticky deals, which need a full investigation."

Interestingly, the report pointed-out that there is one more firm, Lakdawala & Associates, (ICAI Registration No.105518W) that has audited Talwalkars Lifestyles Ltd (now Talwalkars Healthclubs Ltd) during FY2017-18, as per data from the BSE.

"K.P. Lakdawala, who is shown as partner in Lakdawala & Co (auditor of PMC Bank) is shown as proprietor of Lakdawala & Associates in the audit report of Talwalkars Lifestyles," the report said.

"Lakdawala & Associates has its office at D14, Bansinagar, Off Western Express Highway in Borivali (east) at Mumbai, the same audit report shows."

Further the report cited records from LinkedIn, there is one Ketan Lakdawala named as CA at Lakdawala & Associates since January 2009.

"This Mr Lakdawala had worked with PCH Ansotia & Co (Deloitte, Haskins + Sells) and Deloitte for four years during 1984 to 1988. However, there is no information about what he was doing between 1988 till 2009 as per LinkedIn records," the report said.

"The status of Talwalkar Lifestyle's accounts could be another can of worms and we discover that it is already in the process of being investigated and unearthed. But that will be a separate story and ICAI probably is going to have its work cut out if it is serious about investigating the firm."

As regards to PMC, the report said that ICAI's press release suggested that it is clueless about the firm.