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House panel suggests separation of SFIO's investigation, prosecution wing

The panel also took note of high vacancies at the Competition Commission of India (CCI)

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

File photo of the Indian Parliament

A on Thursday suggested separation of investigation wing of from the prosecution wing, and also red-flagged staff shortages at the white-collar crime probe agency.

The panel also took note of high vacancies at the Competition Commission of India (CCI).

In a report tabled in Parliament on Thursday, the Standing Committee on Finance said, "The investigation wing of should be separated from the prosecution wing. For that purpose it would be prudent to create a separate directorate of prosecution, independent of the investigation wing".

It also suggested that the personnel on the investigation and prosecution side should be provided comprehensive training in all relevant areas or methodologies.

Also, they should be adequately sensitised to legal jurisprudence.

The panel said it finds it alarming that in a key multi-disciplinary statutory investigation body like the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), 37 per cent of posts are lying vacant, with only 84 out of the total 133 sanctioned posts in place at present.

Given the quantum and complexity of case load and specialised skills required to handle the same, the committee said, "vacancy rate is unacceptably high, with obvious consequences for the efficiency of the organisation".

It said that out of the total sanctioned posts of 195, as many as 73 posts are lying vacant in and the mode of recruitment in office of Director General (DG), is only through deputation, where as many as 23 positions are lying vacant out of the 41 sanctioned.

The committee noted, "an important office like that of DG, is functioning with less than half of the required staff and even the post of DG is lying vacant".

The panel hoped that recommendation of the high level committee on review of Competition Act 2002 for merger of DG office with CCI as per international practice would be implemented soon to get over the vacancy problem and thus improve the overall functioning of the commission in the face of new developments like cross border mergers, sectoral overlaps, new business models and monopolistic business trends, e-commerce models among others.

First Published: Thu, March 12 2020. 18:10 IST