New Delhi: To bolster its capabilities in probing white collar crimes, the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) will hire chartered accountants to help in matters related to forensic audit and financial data analysis.
SFIO, which comes under the Corporate Affairs Ministry, has been looking to rope in more people, including financial experts to "critically analyse" announcements made by corporate entities.
The Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT), in its latest report on steps to curb the black money menace, has suggested a more active role for SFIO.
The investigative agency is now looking for chartered accountants "for empanelment to take up assignments relating to forensic audit, analysis of financial data, interpretation of financial statements etc in connection with investigations under the provisions of Companies Act, 2013", according to a public notice.
Earlier this month, SFIO had called for applications to hire as many as 24 consultants in diverse areas such as financial analysis and law.
The agency was looking to recruit as many as six consultants in financial analysis and they would be required to analyse financial statements/data available in the government's MCA 21 portal.
The portal, under the Corporate Affairs Ministry, is the platform for entities registered under the Companies Act to make their statutory filings.
To check creation of shell companies, SIT has said that SFIO "needs to actively and regularly mine the MCA 21 database for certain red flag indicators".
The agency can prepare a set of indicators based on its own experience and consultation with other law enforcement agencies like CBDT (Central Board of Direct Taxation), ED (Enforcement Directorate) and FIU (Financial Intelligence Unit), the report has said.
"In case after investigation/assessment by CBDT, a case of creating accommodation entries is clearly established, the matter should be referred to SFIO to proceed under relevant sections of IPC for fraud," it added.
SFIO, which is facing acute staff crunch, had about 75 vacant positions at different levels as of March 23. There are 130 sanctioned posts at the probe agency but actual strength on that date stood at just 55, as per data compiled by the Ministry.
In 2014-15 fiscal, the Ministry had referred as many as 52 cases for investigation to the agency.