India is looking for suitable officers for posting as customs sleuths in London, Hong Kong, Dubai and Brussels in an effort to check trade-based money laundering among others, officials said on Monday. The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), the lead agency to check customs frauds and smuggling, has started the process of selecting customs overseas intelligence network (COIN) officers for these places, they said.
The officers will be posted as Consul at the Consulate General of India at Dubai and Hong Kong and as First Secretary at the country's High Commission at London and in Brussels, the officials said. Earlier this year, the government created two posts of COIN at the Indian Embassy in Beijing and in the Consulate General of India at Guangzhou, they said.
COIN officers play an important role in checking trade-based money laundering and other financial frauds originating from abroad, the officials said.
They are usually mandated to pass on intelligence gathered from their posting stations overseas to help Indian intelligence agencies – mainly the DRI – to check financial offences, they said, adding COIN officers have been posted in several countries, including Nepal, Singapore and the US among others.
It is, however, not the first time that COIN officers are being appointed in London and other places. "A few have completed their tenure and need to be replaced," an official said without citing further details. The selection process will involve concurrence by the Ministry of External Affairs and final approval by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-headed Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, the officials said.
Officers with 'outstanding' annual performance appraisal report will have weightage over other candidates, they said, adding interested candidates can apply by Thursday. Those having experience in DRI, Enforcement Directorate (ED), Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) and customs (preventive) charge, involving intelligence gathering and investigation, will be considered for the posting.
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 officers concerned 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. Based on the marks given in the interview and by the evaluation committee, a panel of three officers for each post will be recommended for approval of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
After the finance minister's nod, the panel will be forwarded to the Ministry of External Affairs for its concurrence and then a reference to the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet will be made for final approval, the officials said.