New Delhi: The Finance Ministry is bringing under one umbrella the intelligence and criminal investigation units of the Income Tax department to enhance prosecution powers to counter terror financing and check transactions that pose threat to national security.
The department will now train and designate its officials in the rank of Inspectors as 'Special Agents' and 'Agents' (Criminal Investigation) while the newly-created Directorate of Criminal Investigation will be headed by the Director-General of Intelligence (Income Tax).
The revamp is part of launching 'un-intrusive' investigations against "persons and transactions suspected to be involved in 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 Commissioners of the intelligence directorate of I-T who are posted in cities like Delhi, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Lucknow will also take up the criminal investigation work," said a senior I-T officer.
"Criminal investigation relies heavily on accurate and specific actionable intelligence and information of such activities and hence such an arrangement has been made," he said.
Separate manpower for the criminal investigation unit will be raised in the next few years when the department gets additional sanction, the officer said.
The intelligence wing of the I-T department has the Central Information Branch (CIB) under it, which is a repository of classified and exhaustive data on taxpayers' financial transactions.
The CIB is also the nodal office in the department to gather all data pertaining to high-value transactions conducted by quoting the mandatory PAN number.
The intelligence wing also feeds exhaustive taxpayer information to the technology-based database of the department called 360-degree profiling which enables I-T to take up search and survey operations to check tax evasion.
The 360-degree profiling also enables the I-T department to track all PAN card-based transactions of a taxpayer, including those done by using debit and credit cards.
The new arrangement, according to the official notification of the Finance Ministry, will enable the revenue department to investigate the source and use of funds involved in criminal activities, file prosecution complaint in the competent court under any direct tax law relating to a criminal activity and extend necessary expert, technical and logistical support to any other intelligence or law enforcement agency in India for investigating such financial crimes.