- The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence is the apex anti-smuggling agency of India, working under the Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs, Ministry of Finance, Government of India.
- It is tasked with detecting and curbing smuggling of contraband, including drug trafficking and illicit international trade in wildlife and environmentally sensitive items, as well as combating commercial frauds related to international trade and evasion of Customs duty.
History of DRI:
- The Central Excise and Customs administration, which was previously deployed during the British Rule mainly for the collection of revenue, was called upon, in the wake of independence, to shoulder the responsibility of guarding the tariff wall along the country’s vast coastline and land frontiers. Many handicaps such as want of trained manpower and adequate resources in the form of equipments and absence of precise intelligence made our frontiers more vulnerable to economic exploitation. Added to it was the temptation to evade taxes and controls which was fuelled on account of growing demand for foreign articles which otherwise were subject to high taxation rates and non-tariff barriers on account of the need to foster indigenous industry and to conserve the country’s fast dwindling foreign exchange reserves.
- A need was felt to have a centralized agency in India to deal with cases of violations of Customs laws, having ramifications beyond the geographical jurisdiction of localized field formations and for collection, co-ordination and correlation of intelligence with respect to violation of these laws and also to furnish specialized know-how. A beginning was made in 1953, when a nucleus cell, christened ‘C.R.I.B.’ (Central Revenue Intelligence Bureau), charged with the responsibility of dealing with all matters connected with anti-smuggling and anti-corruption in the Customs and Central Excise organizations all over India was constituted. It was a small unit consisting of an Assistant Collector and two Superintendents within the Directorate of Inspection (Customs and Central Excise), New Delhi but working directly under the Central Board of Revenue.