Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday urged officials of intelligence wings to ensure a logical and speedy conclusion to every case which would act as a deterrence for perpetrators of economic crimes such as smuggling.
“Logical conclusion is important but speedier conclusion is what will keep the heat on people who are promoting these kinds of activities … greater attention should be given to bringing it to a closure, logical conclusion but the speedier you do it, the greater deterrence it can provide,” Sitharaman said at the 64th DRI Foundation Day.
The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), under the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), is an intelligence and enforcement agency of the Government of India on anti-smuggling matters.
She said there are a lot of intelligence inputs but many times it’s difficult to identify if it’s actionable. “You get a lot of intelligence input, but sometimes, and many times, it is difficult to identify if it is really actionable, sometimes they’re so generic. To act on it becomes difficult … capacity to be built within these institutions to make sure you’re able to see which of these intelligence inputs are so quickly actionable,” the Finance Minister said.
“I think attempts at prevention will also have to be undertaken by us while deterrence and detection will always have to be on the high,” she added.
She also expressed concerns about the high toxic waste being dumped into the country and urged DRI to be more active. In emerging economies, “because of the way in which we have built over the decades capacity to recycle materials, I am afraid quite a large and frequent attempt is being made on bringing in toxic waste to our shores and leave them there,” Sitharaman added. “So I would think that is an area in which I would like to see DRI more active.”
Citing the recent case of seizure of 3,000 kg at Mundra port, she termed such attempts of smuggling in huge quantities of banned substances such as cocaine, cannabis as “brazen”.
“The brazenness with which banned, objectionable and dangerous goods are coming in is just mind boggling … need to be cons