Govt plans to increase manpower strength at SFIO
New Delhi: The government plans to increase the sanctioned employee strength at the financial fraud investigation office SFIO, which is poised to get more powers to crackdown on corporate wrongdoings.
The Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), which is already probing many high profile cases, is already looking for more experts across diverse areas such as tax, forensic audit and capital market.
"There are plans to increase the approved manpower strength at SFIO. The agency is in need of experts in various areas," a source said.
SFIO, which comes under the Corporate Affairs Ministry, has about 130 approved positions.
According to the source, the Ministry is working on plans to increase the sanctioned workforce at the investigation agency and in this regard, communications have also been sent to the Department of Personnel & Training.
The agency is already grappling with talent shortage and last month called applications for filling up 66 positions including 27 openings at various director levels.
Vacancies include Additional Directors for forensic audit, investigations, financial transactions and capital market. Applications have also been sought for 15 Senior Assistant Directors, six Assistant Directors, five Senior Prosecutors and four Prosecutors.
A multi-disciplinary organisation, SFIO has the powers to recommend prosecution in white collar crimes.
The new Companies Bill, awaiting approval from the Rajya Sabha, would provide statutory powers to the agency that would help in bolstering its investigation and other capabilities.
Besides, SFIO has plans to set up a forensic audit laboratory and also revamp its Market Research & Analysis Unit to enable it to function as an intelligence unit.
Forty two cases have been referred to SFIO in the current financial year and probe has been completed in 15 of them.
From 2009-10 to 2011-12 till the current financial year, SFIO has completed investigations in 63 cases and siphoning of funds worth Rs 5,607.37 crore involving 18 companies were detected.
"SFIO will have more powers and they should act as a deterrent. But, it will be the surety of the punishment, more than the severity, which needs to be ensured for this," Corporate Affairs Minister Sachin Pilot had said earlier.
"... The idea of having a fraud investigation organisation is not just to do firefighting after money has been swindled off and small investors are duped of their hard-earned savings," he had said.