Highlighting the wide range of power of revenue officers, finance minister Arun Jaitley on Monday asked revenue intelligence officials to use their discretion fairly and reasonably in their investigations. He also asked them to adopt technology to outmatch the growing technological skills being used by offenders.
“The powers of revenue officers are quite wide. So, the exercise of discretion has to fair, reasonable and productive,” he said at the celebration of 60th anniversary of Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), Central Board of Excise and Customs.
He further said that those committing offences are becoming more sophisticated and the skills of revenue officials have to put match the skills of the offenders. “Technology is a great enabler for the offender, it’s a great enabler for the investigator and particularly related to trade related offences. At times the flight of capital may be so quick with attempt of technology that you really require to have your skills upgraded to its very best,” Jaitley said.
He said that only when the success rate of prosecution and penalty is high then only it would act as a deterrent for offenders. He said that with every passing generation the nature of economic offence is changing and technology is being used to commit those offences.
Also speaking on the occasion, Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said DRI is currently working with staff strength of 600 officials, which is just one-tenth of the strength of Enforcement Directorate but has the best per staff member recovery rate among all the investigative agencies under the Revenue Department.
Jaitley said that generally many investigative agencies start off with tall claims when they detect offences, but ultimately with trials and prosecution the claims fizzle out.
The finance minister told the DRI officials to realign itself to the ever changing economic scenario in order to counter and curb the menace of circulation of Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN), illicit international trade of wildlife and environmentally sensitive items, clandestine export of antiques and trade-based money laundering offences among others, a finance ministry release quoting him said. He also asked the officers to find new and innovative techniques to thwart the new ways of smuggling of sensitive contraband items such as gold and narcotics, and detecting import-export related commercial frauds.