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DCA blueprint on frauds office

New Delhi, Sept. 16: The department of company affairs (DCA) has decided that a joint secretary level officer will head the Serious Frauds office (SFO) that the ministry is setting up.

Speaking to reporters here today, DCA secretary Vinod Dhall said, “There will be two stages in its functioning. In the first stage, the existing laws will be applied to these cases. Later, it will be decided if separate laws are needed for the SFO.”

The SFO will comprise multi-disciplinary experts and outside experts who will co-ordinate with various other regulatory authorities and departments like Sebi in its work, said Dhall. “The SFO will handle serious cases; not more than six to seven a year,” he said. “No time frame has been fixed for the SFO to become operational. But we expect it to be operational within this financial year.”

DCA has also decided to relax norms for appointing company secretaries by companies in small towns and rural areas. A company with a registered office and working in a town with a population of less than one lakh and with a paid-up capital of less than Rs 5 crore will be exempted from appointing a company secretary, Dhall said.

A guideline for this exemption will be issued shortly. At present, any company with a paid-up capital of over Rs 2 crore is required to appoint a company secretary.

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