Directorate Of Enforcement:
In the eight years from 2014, the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) has investigated 121 prominent politicians and has arrested, questioned, raided, or filed FIRs against 115 major Opposition leaders.
- The Directorate of Enforcement (ED) is a law enforcement agency and economic intelligence agency responsible for enforcing economic laws and fighting economic crime in India. It is part of the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance.
- The ED’s aggression has been largely on account of its current Director Sanjay Kumar Mishra (since 2018) and his predecessor Karnal Singh (2015-18) leveraging the massive powers bestowed on the agency by the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002.
- Unlike laws governing other agencies, particularly the CBI, the PMLA allows the ED to take cognizance of any offence under its wide-ranging schedule across the country, with or without the consent of state governments.
- While the National Investigation Agency (NIA) too has powers to take suo motu cognizance of offences across the country, the schedule of the NIA Act — that is, the types of offences that it can investigate — is limited to about a dozen offences.
- The schedule of the PMLA on the other hand, has increased from just six offences in 2002 — when the law was enacted — to 30 groups of offences encompassing over 147 provisions now.
- The ED’s sweeping ambit extends from serious crimes such as terrorism to the hunting of wild animals, and from the infringement of copyright to false trademarks.