A new position of Chief Investigation Officer of India (CIO) on the lines of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and the National Security Advisor (NSA) is likely to be created. It has emerged that the post, acting as an oversight body, will be in the rank of Secretary to the Government of India.
Media reports have claimed that discussions are on at the highest level to have the post approved.
Outgoing ED chief, Sanjay Kumar Mishra, is likely to be appointed the first CIO, who might report to the Prime Minister’s office.
Only recently, the Supreme Court allowed Mishra to continue as ED chief till September 15, terming his extensions illegal. However, he was allowed to continue till September 15 in larger public and national interest. The central government, the media highlighted, requested an extension of his tenure owing to the ongoing review of the Financial Action Task Force in which some countries wanted India to be put in the grey list.
Grey listing means a country is under increased scrutiny by the Financial Action Task Force, a global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog, owing to deficiencies in Anti-Money Laundering (AML).
The post of CIO could be created before Mishra ends his term. The ED, meanwhile, is expected to function under the Department of Revenue of the Union Ministry of Finance and the CBI under the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, reports said.
The position assumes a great significance given that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) will report to the CIO, just like the three services report to the CDS and the two intelligence agencies to the NSA.
Media outlets claim that the government agrees there are similarities in the areas of investigation of the ED and the CBI. But while the ED focuses mainly on financial frauds, including cases related to money laundering and FEMA violations, the CBI handles economic offences and general corruption cases.
The post of a CIO should facilitate better synergy between the ED and the CBI.