In a reinforced bid to check tax evasion, money laundering and increasing use of banks by terror elements and drug mafia, Union finance minister P Chidambaram has sought the creation of a top secret cell to monitor the action taken on reports of suspicious transactions in banks.
The cell, a virtual office, will comprise three officials — one each from the Central Board of Direct Taxes, Central Board of Excise and Customs and the Central Economic Intelligence Bureau.
“Its key responsibility would be to monitor and assess the feedback on suspicious transaction reports from intelligence units and from field officers, and also on follow-up action taken by various government agencies,” an intelligence official said.
The decision assumes significance in the backdrop of security officials expressing concern over the increasing use of legitimate banking channels by terrorists and drug dealers.
“Banks are being increasingly preferred by such elements as such transactions are not eyed with suspicion. The other thing is that the volume of banking transactions is very high,” said a senior intelligence official.
The decision was taken during a meeting chaired by Chidambaram recently to review the working of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), which is part of the finance ministry’s initiative to develop a 360-degree profile of economic offenders. A recent effort by the FIU and CBDT had resulted in the identification of more than 4.3 lakh corporate PAN card holders who had not filed electronic I-T returns in 2010-12.