38 senior officers from I-T, Customs, Excise Dept deputed to ED

Rahul Wadke Mumbai | Updated on December 10, 2020

Appointments fast-tracked due go several pending high-profile cases

India’s premier anti-money laundering agency the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is on a head-hunting spree. In less than two weeks, 38 senior officers from the Income Tax and Customs and Central Excise Department have been selected on a deputation to the agency.

Sources in another central agency said the appointments have been fast-tracked following a recent review of the pending high-profile cases under the Directorate .

The Union Home Ministry wants the cases to reach their logical conclusion in a time bound manner. Therefore, the ED has been asked to recruit seasoned financial investigators. Officers of the Indian Revenue Service (IRS), who join Income Tax and Customs and Central Excise Department, are specially trained to handle financial crime, sources said.

On November 27, the Department of Revenue had announced the deputation of four officers from Indian Revenue Service (IRS) as special directors for a period of five years. On December 9, another 12 IRS and Income Tax Officers (ITO) were deputed as Assistant Directors and 22 as Deputy Directors to the ED.

In the Income Tax Department hierarchy, ITOs are junior grade officers when compared to IRS cadre. But, whenever ITOs join other department on deputation they get a higher grade.

A senior official of the Income Tax Department said that deputation of four officers to ED as special directors is a significant development as these officers have over 20 years experience in tracking financial crimes. They have sifted through thousands of tax evasion cases. This valuable experience comes in handy while dealing with cases under Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) and Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). “Special directors are thinktanks of ED, who take a call on a number of operational and policy matters,” the official said.

The official added that due to the new faceless manner of tax calculation and collection, the role of tax assessors has lost its appeal for many IRS officers. Today, face to face interaction with taxpayers happens only in units such as Transfer Pricing, International Taxation and Central Circle, which deal with search and seizure of unaccounted wealth. Therefore, IRS officers are seeking deputation in more challenging agencies such as the ED.

ED is a multi-disciplinary organisation mandated with the task of enforcing the provisions of two special fiscal Acts FEMA and PMLA. Besides directly recruiting personnel, it also draws its manpower from other investigation agencies such as Customs & Central Excise, Income Tax and Police.

BusinessLine wrote to ED Director, Sanjay Kumar Mishra and Secretary of Revenue Department, Finance Ministry, AB Pandey, seeking their comments on the development. However, there was no reply from their offices, till the time of going to press.

Published on December 10, 2020

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