Tax evasion cases: I-T 'special agents' to carry arms

The Income Tax department is mulling to arm its soon to be appointed 'special agents' who will be tasked to crack high-profile tax evasion and money laundering cases in the country.

"The special agents and agents will be able to carry firearms after the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) is operationalised in the I-T department soon," a top officer of the department, privy to the development, said.

The Finance Ministry has recently notified bringing under one umbrella the intelligence and criminal investigation units of the Income Tax department to effectively deal with terror financing cases and transactions that pose threat to national security.

The department will now recruit special agents and agents (criminal investigation) under the new wing, half of whom would be recruited or brought on deputation from premier investigative agencies and police organisations of the country.

The special agents who will form part of the premier DCI would be able to carry firearms under the rules prescribed by their parent organisation and would be able to tackle any intimidation in course of their new duty of checking and gathering intelligence on tax evasion, the officer said.

The new arrangement, first in I-T department's history, will be duly notified, he said.

The DCI will be headed by the Director General of Intelligence (Income Tax) and was notified in May this year to tackle the menace of black money with cross-border ramifications.

The revamp is aimed at 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 criminal investigation work under the DCI.

"Criminal investigation relies heavily on accurate and specific actionable intelligence and information of such activities and hence such an arrangement has been made," a I-T officer 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.

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