By Milan Mody, Bhavin Kapadia and Nidhi Parekh
Originality and authenticity are the key elements when people rely on and trust documents which have been certified by an expert. These two attributes are pervasive across the globe and encompass products and services consumed. Over the period, various cases have been reported as regards forged or false certificate, non-professional representing as professional, signed documents becoming invalid since they were fake, date mismatch making the document non-reliable, etc.
In the year 2015, an alert was generated by the ‘Central Vigilance Commission’ (CVC) on documents certified by Chartered Accounts (CA) which were forged. CVC reported that fake stamps and signatures of a CA were put on official documents to take loans from public sector banks. The above forgery matter came to light when the loans became Non-Performing Asset. In October 2018, CVC issued the analysis of top 100 bank frauds examined by them, wherein forgery of documents was predominant in most of the cases.
To address the concern, the CVC had proposed in year 2015 to the apex body of Chartered Accountants, ICAI, to take steps to monitor genuineness of certificates issued by its members in order to check banking frauds. They suggested to put in place a system whereby the genuineness of documents certified by a CA can be verified online and recommended to have a system of “Unique Number” to be mentioned on all the documents certified by CAs. Further, they also proposed to validate the authenticity of these documents through online portal.