Corporate affairs minister M Veerappa Moily says he intends to strengthen the checks against corporate fraud in a time-bound manner. Edited excerpts from an interview with Joe C Mathew (Business Standard):
As former law minister, you would have been associated with the legal vetting of the new Companies Bill. Would you like to see further changes?
Yes, I have been closely following the drafting. Once enacted, it will be a comprehensive law. I intend to take the Bill to the Cabinet soon and get it introduced in Parliament during the coming session.
The Bill has been prepared after sufficient industry consultations. I do not think we require another round of industry interactions on this.
However, I am aware of their concerns regarding corporate social responsibility (CSR) and it will be taken care of.
Any other legislative amendments on the priority list?
We have to amend the laws that govern the three professional institutes — ICAI (Institute of Chartered Accountants of India), ICSI (Institute of Companies Secretaries of India) and ICWAI (Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India) to allow the formation of multi-disciplinary limited liability partnership (LLP) firms in their sector. We are also working on new bills on multi-state societies and multi-state partnerships.
Do you think the LLP registrations have picked up the way it was expected? Will these amendments help?
LLP firms will turn attractive once there are some enabling moves from the finance ministry. We need to simplify it further and allow more sectors to form LLPs. I will be writing to the finance ministry on this issue.
How do you see the need for strengthening corporate oversight?
I had recommended this in my ‘Ethics in Governance’ report years ago (when chairman of the second Administrative Reforms Commission). We are not taking economic offences very seriously. Money of the public should not be allowed to be taken away by vanishing companies. I would like to prevent this. I have already met the Serious Frauds Investigation Office (SFIO) director and necessary steps will be taken to strengthen our vigil against corporate fraud. My focus will be on early warning systems and a fully integrated e-governance project. We are already moving in that direction but I would like to see it happen in a time-bound manner.
Have you set deadlines for yourself?
I have identified 21 priority issues which include the Companies Bill and other issues I already have mentioned. From Monday onwards, I have asked my officials to hold two-hour meetings with key personnel handling each of these issues. In other words, in the next 42 working hours, I will have a fair idea about the next steps to be taken.
How is your routine?
I am here (in office) at 9 am and work (excluding the lunch hours) until I clear the last file on my table.