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The Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) continues to grapple with staff crunch with nearly half of the sanctioned posts remaining vacant even as efforts are on to bolster its manpower strength, a senior official said.
The white collar crime probe agency, which comes under the corporate affairs ministry, has a total of 133 sanctioned positions.
Out these, only around 64 positions are filled while the rest are vacant. The agency is looking to hire more people, the official said.
The vacancies amount to 48 per cent of the total positions at SFIO.
Recently, the ministry sought applications to fill up nine deputy director and senior assistant director-level posts at the SFIO.
Three deputy directors, including two for investigation, and six senior assistant directors - three each for investigation, and customs and central excise- are to be hired, as per a circular issued last month.
Tentative place of posting could be Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad, as per the circular.
The SFIO has completed 312 investigations during the period from 2003-04 to 2016-17, according to its Website.
Last December, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance had said that the SFIO should fill its vacancies with adequate permanent cadre and strengthen both its investigative and prosecution arms by developing a foolproof fraud detection mechanism.
"The process of creating a permanent cadre under SFIO has been delayed for too long considering that SFIO was set up way back in 2003," it had said.
Recruitment rules for 28 categories of posts in the SFIO have been amended to establish adequate permanency in the cadre.
In its submission to the panel, the ministry had said that over a period of time, the SFIO would have its own cadre and all senior level posts would be filled up through own cadre on the basis of promotion rather than taking people on deputation.
The agency is a multidisciplinary organisation having experts for prosecution of white collar crimes and frauds under the companies law.