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Taxman can probe crime now

business Updated: May 31, 2011 01:44 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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Under attack for inaction over black money and stung by a series of scams that have hurt political and business sentiments, the government on Monday set up a special wing - the Directorate of Income Tax (Criminal Investigation) or DCI - empowered to investigate criminal offences under direct tax laws.

The DCI will gather intelligence, prosecute and take up the necessary coordination to crack down on tax-linked crimes.

"The DCI will perform functions in respect to criminal matters having financial implication punishable as an offence under any direct tax law," the finance ministry said in a statement.

The decision to set up the new specialised directorate came a day after the government announced a joint study by three leading think-tanks to estimate Indian entities' unaccounted wealth both at home and abroad.

So far there are no reliable estimates of black money generated and held within and outside the country with research bodies have pegged the size of India's black economy between $462 billion (about Rs 20,79, 000 crore) and $1.4 trillion ( about Rs 63 lakh crore).

On Saturday, the government set up a committee headed by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) chairman to examine ways to strengthen laws to curb the generation of black money.

The DCI, to be a part of the CBDT, will be headed by an officer of the rank of chief commissioner of income tax.

"Setting up of a focused directorate having required resources, trained people and tools to crack cases and also having powers to detect and prosecute the cases expeditiously will positively help to reduce the menace," M Lakshminarayanan, leader-Tax, Deloitte Haskins & Sells told HT.

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