The Supreme Court of India after hearing the pleas against the recent extensions given to Enforcement Directorate (ED) director, Mr Sanjay Mishra, questions the decision of the state to give him a third consecutive extension.
“Is there no other person in the organization who can do his job? Can one person be so indispensable? According to you, there is no one else in ED who is competent. What will happen post to the agency post-2023, when he does retire?” the court asked.
The 62-year-old ED chief was appointed to the post in 2018 for a period of 2 years after which he was given an extension in November 2020 for another year. In 2021 the Union government passed two ordinances, the Central Vigilance Commission (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021 and the Delhi Special Police Establishment (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021, which gave the government powers to extend the tenure of ED and CBI chiefs by three years after there mandated two years of service. Soon after this ordinance was passed, Mishra received another extension on his term.
After the first extension given to Mishra, it was questioned in the court and the court upheld the decision, although it noted that no more extensions can be given to him.
Questions raised came after the statement that the Solicitor General of India, the official representative of the Government of India, Mr Tushar Mehta said that the extension was necessitated because of administrative reasons and was vital for India’s evaluation by the Financial Action Task Force.
“The next peer review of India’s legislation on money laundering is to take place in 2023 and, with a view to ensuring that India’s rating does not go down, continuity of the leadership in the Enforcement Directorate is crucial,” Mehta added.
Over the last five years, more than 1500 ED raids have been conducted by the department.
The hearing has not reached a conclusion and the Supreme Court will continue to listen to the pleas from May 6.