Cen­tre will ex­pe­dite cash rewards to in­form­ers

The Sunday Guardian - - Nation -

The Cen­tre has or­dered fast-track­ing the pay­ment of cash rewards to the tune of Rs 1 crore to se­cret in­form­ers who pro­vide tip-offs to in­ves­tiga­tive agen­cies in con­nec­tion with be­nami prop­er­ties. The de­ci­sion in this re­gard was taken last month and is likely to be im­ple­mented soon. The amount of cash re­ward has also been in­creased.

In yet an­other at­tempt to curb black money and undis­closed prop­er­ties across the coun­try fol­low­ing the de­mon­eti­sa­tion ini­tia­tive, the Cen­tre has or­dered all the top of­fi­cials of in­ves­tiga­tive agen­cies, in­clud­ing En­force­ment Di­rec­torate (ED), In­come Tax (I-T) Separt­ment and the Cen­tral Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion (CBI), to fo­cus on cash rewards to se­cret in­form­ers.

“An in­former will get min­i­mum Rs 15 lakh and max­i­mum Rs 1 crore for pro­vid­ing any in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing undis­closed prop­er­ties. The amount to be paid will be de­cided on the ba­sis of the value of the seized prop­erty,” a se­nior Cen­tral Board of Di­rect Taxes (CBDT) of­fi­cial, who is part of the pol­icy mak­ing, said on the con­di­tion of anonymity.

“Af­ter re­ceiv­ing any in­for­ma­tion, the in­ves­tiga­tive agen­cies will carry out a for­mal in­ves­ti­ga­tion to ver­ify the re­li­a­bil­ity of the source. Once the ver­i­fi­ca­tion process is over and it is found that the in­for­ma­tion given by the se­cret in­former is true, the in­former will be paid the amount pre­scribed by se­nior of­fi­cials,” the same of­fi­cial quoted above told The Sun­day Guardian.

Ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cial, the in­for­ma­tion will have to be ac­cu­rate and the iden­tity of the in­former will be kept se­cret. The gov­ern­ment will never dis­close the in­former’s iden­tity as this could en­dan­ger the in­former’s life.

It is a com­mon prac­tice of the ED, I-T and the Di­rec­torate of Rev­enue In­tel­li­gence to re­ward in­form­ers. How­ever, ear­lier, the re­ward amount was not so at­trac­tive; so the Cen­tre has de­cided to in­crease the amount and or­dered fast-track­ing the pay­ment of the re­ward money. Of­fi­cials said that find­ing undis­closed prop­er­ties and their own­ers is a tough task for the in­ves­tiga­tive agen­cies.

“The de­ci­sion of quick pay­ment of cash re­ward would make the in­ves­ti­ga­tion process eas­ier, faster and ef­fec­tive. If we of­fer an at­trac­tive cash prize to in­form­ers, our task will be­come easy and we will start re­veal­ing the names of be­nami prop­erty hold­ers across the coun­try. Also, af­ter the in­crease in re­ward money and swift pay­ments, the pol­icy will at­tract more and more peo­ple to be­come se­cret in­form­ers,” the CBDT of­fi­cial quoted above said.

“The changes in re­ward pol­icy are in the process of get­ting a green light from the Min­istry of Fi­nance. Ac­cord­ing to sources, the pol­icy will get the min­istry’s nod by the end of this month,” the CBDT of­fi­cial added.

The Be­nami Trans­ac­tions (Pro­hi­bi­tion) Amend­ment Act, 2016, which came into ef­fect from 1 Novem­ber 2016, has proved to be an im­por­tant in­stru­ment in fight­ing against black money. Sev­eral be­nami trans­ac­tions have been iden­ti­fied since the amended laws have come into ef­fect.

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