NEW DELHI: The Special Investigation Team probing illegal funds stashed abroad has roped in an economic intelligence agency as its nodal agency to speed up its investigation.
The Central Economic Intelligence Bureau (CEIB) has been selected as the 12th agency, which would work with the SIT and act as the main “coordinating body” between all the investigative and enforcement agencies that are part of the high-powered panel, according to officials. It is believed that SIT chose the CEIB over the Enforcement Directorate (ED) as the chief coordinating agency for the panel -- which has close to a dozen central agencies working on it. The CEIB is said to have provided a list of 600 Indians, who were understood to possess illegal bank accounts abroad, after it obtained the same through its secret channels. The SIT on black money, headed by Justice (retired) M B Shah and with Justice (retd) Arijit Pasayat as its vice-chairman, has as its members the heads or top officials of various departments and agencies. It was set up days after the BJP led NDA government took over the reins at the capital.
Top officials including Secretary (Revenue) in the Finance Ministry, an RBI Deputy Governor, Directors of IB, ED, RAW, Financial Intelligence Unit and CBI, CBDT chairman, DG Narcotics Control Bureau, DG DRI and the Joint Secretary (Foreign Tax and Tax Research Wing) in the Finance Ministry, are working under the umbrella of SIT.
The SIT had recently said that it has widened the scope of its investigation to include some new names that figure in the list of account holders in HSBC’s Swiss arm after information in this regard was released recently by an international body of journalists.
The SIT zeroed in on the CEIB after it was found that the agency had all the resources at its disposal for handling the role while the ED is already overburdened with money laundering and foreign exchange violation cases and is facing a manpower shortage as well.
Sources close to the development said that the CEIB is the 12th agency which would be working with the SIT on black money, albeit from the sidelines and not as a part of the core panel.
Set up in 1985, the CEIB is the nodal agency for coordinating financial and economic intelligence data and ensuring effective interaction among all the agencies concerned which are engaged in dealing with economic offences in the country.