An annoyed P Chidambaram has called for a meeting on Tuesday to review the role of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), an independent body that reports to the Economic Intelligence Council (EIC) headed by the finance minister.
He had asked the FIU to concentrate on instances of tax evasion too, not just its core area of money laundering cases under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Top officials from the Central Board of Direct Taxes, Enforcement Directorate (ED), FIU and the Central Economic Intelligence Bureau have also been summoned for the meeting.
Apart from the ED, FIU is one of the designated agencies to be notified under the PMLA. It is also the nodal agency mandated with receiving, processing, analysing and disseminating information concerning suspect financial transactions.
Agency, also a part of a group of similar agencies in 117 countries, is also responsible for coordinating and strengthening efforts of national and international intelligence, investigation and enforcement agencies in pursuing global efforts against money laundering and related crimes.
Set up in November 2004 during Chidambaram’s second stint as finance minister, the FIU’s role in tax evasion is crucial for helping income tax authorities and the country’s economic intelligence machinery to develop a 360-degree profile of economic offenders.
About 80 lakh bank accounts are configured into FIU’s database.