We are all aware of the departments like CID (Crime Investigation Department), Anti-Terrorism Wing, which check the increasing criminal activities in the country. But recently many financial forgery and corruption cases were in news which led many investigating agencies names coming in the news. But when it comes to crimes related to finance or economy, the cases are delegated to special departments that only investigate financial crimes. These are specialised agencies who have necessary exprtise and knowlege around the financial crimes.
Let’s take a look at the Investigating agencies for financial crimes:
1. CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation)
CBI is an investigative agency that deals with criminal activities in the country. It has a special economic wing which keeps the national economy immune by detecting economic crimes and corruption in the nation. The Bureau deals with cases like bank fraud, financial fraud, mass trafficking etc. The last few cases like Coal scam, Vyapam scam, 2G spectrum and Bofors scam were investigated by CBI. Their investigation uncovered several high profile politicians, ministers and businessmen who were involved in scams.
2. ED (Enforcement Directorate)
ED is a law enforcement agency responsible for enforcing economic laws in the country. The two major laws enacted by it are FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act) and PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act). These Acts mainly deal with issues like black money, money laundering and hawala trade.
Not only criminals, ED does not shy away from exposing celebs too. For example, Shah Rukh was called out for violating FEMA because his IPL team Kolkata Knight Riders allegedly sold their shares to the Mauritius-based company at a low price, causing a loss of ₹73 crore to the government.
Nowadays, the ED is probing two high-profile scam cases, one in the Patra Chaul scam involving top Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut and the other in Aam Aadmi Party leader Satyendar Jain in the Monde laundry case.
3. SFIO (Serious Fraud Investigation Office)
It is a fraud-investigation agency that comes under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. It has experts from various financial sectors. In collaboration with the Income Tax Department and the CBI, it prosecutes ‘white collar fraud’.
In 2009, SFIO played a major role in solving the Satyam Computer scam. It was a big corporate scam which was executed by the owner Ramalinga Raju by misappropriating more than Rs. 7,000 crore in the balance sheet. Besides, SFIO joined hands with CBI and ED to solve the case. As a result of this investigation, Raju and the other accused were found guilty and sentenced to jail.
4. Forensic Audit Team
It evaluates the financial information of an individual or firm which can be used as evidence in cases of fraud such as theft, bribery, extortion and other financial claims. Maintaining such records of information makes it easier to detect conflicts in the financial statements of companies.
For that reason, RBI has made forensic auditing mandatory for large amounts of bank loans to control rising NPAs. In this regard, the forensic auditors detected some companies which had applied for loans despite having high cash reserves and declared them as willful defaulters.
5. CVC (Central Vigilance Commission)
When corrupt government officials are involved in any fraud or case, action can be taken against them only after legal permission from the government. For this purpose, the Government of India has set up the CVC which is a body which addresses the corruption cases of government officials. It is a Statutory Body established in the year 1964 through the executive resolution of the Central Government.
But however, it is only an advisory body which merely ‘monitors’ and does not investigate.
It is defined by RTI (right to information) as a public authority, which means it has to provide the information requested by the citizens. So, when the coal scam happened under the UPA regime, the opposition BJP approached the CVC seeking a probe into the scam, which was later handed over to the CBI.
6. CEIB (Central Economic Intelligence Bureau)
The Bureau monitors the black economy and other economic crimes and also devises necessary measures to combat economic crimes such as tax evasion, smuggling and money laundering.
It also has the power to coordinate with various Indian and international investigative agencies. Brainstorming with various agencies helps in in-depth analysis of the problem so that suitable measures can be taken to solve it.