With a view to bringing in greater discipline and order in the corporate world while avoiding recurrence of Satyam-like scams, the Serious Frauds Investigations Office (SFIO) may be mandated to give its reports on companies by definite deadlines.
The SFIO — under the corporate affairs ministry — was set up in 2003 to investigate and scrutinise discrepancies in audit reports. However, it is yet to convict any company.
“The SFIO would be given specific deadlines by which it would have to submit its reports on audits to bring in order in the corporate world,” Salman Khurshid, minister, Corporate Affairs told Hindustan Times. The minister said that though the timeframe given to SFIO could vary depending on the nature of the investigation, it would not be provided with any extension on the set deadlines.
SFIO, however, would be given more statutory and legal powers to allow it to act fast.
The government has already taken several measures to strengthen the SFIO. As many as 58 new posts have been created in various grades and full powers have been delegated to the investigating agency to engage outside technical experts in accordance with General Financial Rules (GFRs).
The SFIO has handled as many as 70 cases, including that of the multi-crore Satyam Computer scam, since it was set up.