The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the country’s central bank, has issued a statement saying that it will not approve EY member firm SR Batliboi & Co for ‘carrying out statutory audit assignments in commercial banks for one year starting from 1 April 2019’.

The RBI said the action had been taken ‘on account of the lapses identified in a statutory audit assignment carried out by the firm’. The action marks only the first time the Indian central bank has taken such a step since setting out a graded enforcement action framework in June 2018 in respect of statutory auditors for lapses in the statutory audit of commercial banks.

Local press reports mentioned issues over bad debt reporting by Indian banks in 2015-2016, with Business Standard citing Axis Bank and Yes Bank while The Economic Times mentioned Yes Bank.

The Reserve Bank said that the action taken against SR Batliboi & Co had been communicated to the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.

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