New Delhi: The Income Tax department, which is at the forefront of cracking down against black money, has been the largest consumer of Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs) generated by the elite financial intelligence unit, an official data has revealed.
The I-T department, with a total of 26,488 STRs in the last six financial years (2006-12), has been reported as the biggest consumer of these classified reports, as compared with other enforcement agencies like the ED, DRI and Customs department which consumed just over 3,000 of such reports.
According to a report of the Finance Ministry, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has reported to have received a total of 2,346 STRs, while agencies under the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) like Customs department, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and Directorate General of Central Excise Intelligence (DGCEI) have got a total of 1,397 such reports during the same period.
"The I-T department, under the CBDT, has been probing a lot of cases as part of its combat against black money and being the lead agency for liaison with foreign enforcement agencies it requires an increasing number of STRs. Many of these STRs were received after formal requests were made," a senior I-T official said.
Other enforcement agencies, by the virtue of their different mandates, do not require these many STRs and they rely on I-T investigation reports for reference in their matters.
"Keeping in view the increasing reliance of the department on the STRs, the CBDT signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the FIU last year," the official added. Sources in the I-T department said that a good number of cases of black money and tax evasion were cracked and helped by these STRs which are sent to the FIU by various banks, financial bodies and economic intermediaries.
An STR relates to a transaction which gives rise to suspicion that it may involve proceeds of an offence specified under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) or appears to be made in circumstances of unusual or unjustified complexity or appears to have no economic rationale or bona fide purpose or gives rise to a reasonable ground of suspicion that it may involve financing of terrorism.
An STR includes details of all accounts, transactions, individuals and legal persons or entities related to a suspicious transaction.
Regulators like RBI, SEBI and IRDA received 86, 344 and 21 STRs respectively in the same period.
The FIU is the central national agency responsible for receiving, processing, analysing and disseminating information relating to suspect financial transactions which it receives from banks and other financial institutions.
First Published: Sunday, July 8, 2012, 14:27