India to post Customs intelligence officers in China to check financial frauds

By: | Published: March 17, 2019 11:53 AM

Two posts of the Customs Overseas Intelligence Network (COIN) have been created in the Indian Embassy in Beijing and in the Consulate General of India at Guangzhou, they said. The Finance Ministry has begun the process to select officers for the postings.

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India has decided to post Customs intelligence officers in China in its effort to check black money, trade-based money laundering and other financial frauds, officials said Sunday. Two posts of the Customs Overseas Intelligence Network (COIN) have been created in the Indian Embassy in Beijing and in the Consulate General of India at Guangzhou, they said. The Finance Ministry has begun the process to select officers for the postings.

The move has been initiated by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), the lead agency to check Customs frauds and smuggling, to curtail incidents of trade-based money laundering and other financial frauds originating from China, the officials said. COIN officers are usually mandated to pass on intelligence or information gathered from their respective positing stations overseas to help Indian intelligence agencies – mainly DRI – check trade-related frauds, they said.

“COIN officers play an important role in checking trade-based money laundering, black money and tax evasion by sharing intelligence with Indian agencies. Since a significant import and export is done between India and China, it was considered imperative to expand the snoop network to China,” an official said, wishing anonymity.

In the past, Customs authorities in India have detected a few cases of smuggling to and from China, he said. COIN officers have been posted in several countries, including Nepal, Singapore, Brussels, the US and the UK, to help Indian authorities check smuggling, the officials said.

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The selection process involves concurrence by the Ministry of External Affairs and final approval by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-headed Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, they said. Giving details of the process, the officials said an evaluation committee comprising directors general of DRI, Directorate General of Goods and Services Tax Intelligence, National Academy of Customs, Excise and Narcotics and the Directorate General of Human Resource Development will evaluate the service records of concerned officers for posting.

A high-level committee comprising the chairperson, two members of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs and the director general of DRI will interview the officers, they said. The board will then recommend a panel of three officers for each post to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

After obtaining the finance minister’s approval, the panel will be forwarded to the Ministry of External Affairs for its concurrence followed by reference to the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet for final approval, the officials said.

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