Special cell to keep track of illicit funds

Special cell to keep track of illicit funds

Directorate of Income Tax will have wide powers

The Directorate of Income Tax (Criminal Investigation)—to be known as DCI—will function with immediate effect, the Finance Ministry said here. The DCI will collect information about persons and transactions connected with criminal activities and initiate prosecution proceedings against them. The DCI will function under the administrative control of Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).

“The DCI will seek and collect information about persons and transactions suspected to be connected with criminal activities having cross-border, inter-state or international ramifications that pose a threat to national security and are punishable under the direct tax laws,” the ministry said.

The Directorate will investigate the source and use of funds involved in such criminal activities and file prosecution complaint in competent courts. The Directorate will also be empowered to hire the services of special prosecutors and other experts for pursuing a prosecution complaint filed in any court of competent jurisdiction.

It will coordinate as well as provide necessary expert and logistical support to other intelligence and law enforcement agencies in the country. Broadening the scope for overseas probe, if required, the Directorate can enter into agreements for sharing of information and other cooperation with their counterparts of other countries as permissible. The DCI will have eight directors located at Delhi, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Lucknow.

The announcement of setting up of the DCI has come close on the heel of the government setting up a high level committee headed by the CBDT chairman to examine ways of strengthening laws to curb growth of black money, prevent transfer of such funds abroad and suggest ways to declare illegally generated wealth as national asset.

Besides, the government has commissioned an in-depth study to quantify unaccounted income and wealth stashed within and outside the country. The Congress-led UPA government has been coming under pressure from the Supreme Court for not doing enough to deal with the growing menace of black money.

The apex court has pulled up the government for not making serious efforts to bring back the illegal money stashed in overseas banks.