‘More teeth to Serious Fraud Investigation Office’



New Delhi: Government on Thursday said it proposes to give more teeth to the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) under the new Companies Bill by providing it statutory recognition and endowing it with more powers.

Replying to a query during Question Hour in Lok Sabha, Minister of Corporate Affairs M Veerappa Moily said, "We are planning to give legal status to SFIO. In its present form it hasn't got much teeth. But I would not say SFIOs are completely ineffective."

He maintained that SFIO had filed 39 cases and all have gone in its favour. "We need to strengthen it by giving it powers of arrest, raid and seizure," he said.

Moily informed the House that the Vepa Kamesam Committee was constituted by the ministry in February 2006 to consider measures to strengthen the SFIO and streamline its functioning with a view to making it more effective.

"Keeping in view the recommendations of the committee, it is proposed to give statutory recognition to SFIO. In the new Companies Bill, powers such as treating its investigation report as a report filed by a police officer and giving SFIO power to issue letter of requests in cases involving companies having businesses outside the country are some of the provisions proposed to be included," he said.

Moily insisted that the Market Research and Analysis Wing of SFIO is also being strengthened through the new Bill.

58 additional posts have been created and the ministry has decided to set up regional offices at New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata and Ahmedabad to increase the reach of office and for better monitoring of prosecution cases in progress at various places.

SFIO is investigating 12 cases at the moment which includes one against Global Trust Bank.

PTI