| North Block: In demand
New Delhi, Aug. 22: The department of company affairs (DCA), which was taken out from the ministry of law, justice and company affairs and made an adjunct to the ministry of finance after the recent Cabinet reshuffle in which Jaswant Singh took over as the finance minister, may move to a new abode — the North Block, where the finance ministry is housed.
Arun Jaitley, who was earlier the minister of law, justice and company affairs, had his office in the Shastri Bhavan.
The ministry of finance and company affairs, as the new ministry is now called, has its minister Jaswant Singh’s office in North Block, at a distance of about a kilometre.
It could not be ascertained whether the move was inspired by a desire to keep a closer eye on the department, which has suddenly started buzzing with activity after launching its investigations into a series of corporate shenanigans involving large companies like the Tatas, Reliance, Xerox Modicorp, Ranbaxy, and VSNL to name but a few.
According to sources in the department of company affairs, the finance minister has recently indicated that he would like the DCA to move from Shastri Bhavan to North Block. Sources pointed out that about 35,000 square feet of space will be required by DCA in the North Block, if it has to shift house.
However, the fact remains that North block itself is overcrowded housing, not only with the huge and quite secretive ministries of finance and home but also the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and Central Board of Excise and Customs.
Things are so constrained that even partitioned rooms are shared by two to three middle-to senior-level officers.
Several finance ministry divisions such as the department of banking, chief controller of accounts, and various tribunals are forced to be housed in other buildings spread throughout the New Delhi district.
Even if DCA manages to secure the space it wants, there are indications that some of its sections will continue to be in Shastri Bhavan. These include the sections of cost audit, research and statistics and the library.
If the DCA moves to North Block, then it also plans to surrender 5000 sq ft of space occupied by some of its divisions in the Lodi Road-based CGO complex in New Delhi.
The DCA has a three-tier organisational set-up for administration of the Companies Act, namely, the Secretariat at New Delhi, the Regional Directors at Mumbai, Calcutta, Chennai and Kanpur and the Registrar of Companies in states and Union territories. The official liquidators, attached to various high courts functioning in the country, are also under the overall administrative control of the department.
The Company Law Board, a quasi-judicial body, has its principal bench at Delhi. DCA’s organisation at the headquarters also includes two directors of inspection and investigation with a complement of staff, director of research and statistics and other officials providing expertise on legal, accounting, economic and statistical matters.