Melbourne, Jan.22 : THE Australian Federal Police will continue to push for an office in India to combat identity theft, despite budget realignments flagged by Home Affairs Minister Bob Debus.
India has been identified as a major base for several identity theft syndicates operating in Australia. In one bust last year, for example, one million Australian dollars in cash was seized from crime rings in Melbourne and Sydney.
Last March, AFP Commissioner Mick Keelty said an office in India would be established by the end of 2007 but protracted negotiations between the two governments have led to a delay.
Debus said recently the AFP was overstretched by its foreign commitments, at the expense of tackling domestic crime, such as drug imports, terrorism, identity theft and child pornography.
"The AFP office in India is still on track. Negotiations are ongoing between the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Government of India," Australian IT quoted a spokesman of Mr. Debus, as saying.
As for when the office was slated to open and in which city, an AFP spokeswoman said it was too soon to comment.