New Delhi, Dec 4: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday asked investigating agencies to use their power of discretion in a fair and reasonable manner to deliver better conviction rates “which would then serve as a deterrent”.
He said that investigation agencies, not just on the revenue front, often start off with “very tall claims” during the detection of offences, but as the investigation and trials proceed, “many of them fizzle out and produce no results”.
“It is here that you also have to use your discretion as economic investigators very efficiently… so that along with width of power that you have, you are able to fairly use that discretion,” Jaitley said addressing Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) officials at its diamond jubilee celebrations.
The Finance Minister said the powers of revenue officers are quite wide.
“Along with the width of power that rests with the revenue officials, exercise of that discretion itself has to be very fair, reasonable and productive. It is only then that after detection, the prosecution is sustained in the long run,” he said.
Jaitley said the success rate of the investigating agencies in leading the trials to their logical conclusion would, in turn, act as a deterrent for people not to commit those offences.
“If the success rate is very marginal, then the deterrence of all the power that you have — and the consequence that the offender will face — doesn’t really exist.”
Jaitley said with technology now being a great enabler for both the offender and the investigator, it was vital for agencies like the DRI to upgrade their professional skills and stay ahead of wrongdoers.
“As we step into generation after generation, we realise that the nature of offences is changing, the width of those offences is expanding, those committing those offences are becoming more clever and more sophisticated, and therefore your skills have to outmatch them.”
“And now, with technology being a great enabler, for both the offender and the investigator… you require to have your skills upgraded to the very best,” Jaitley said.