Current Enforcement Directorate S.K. Mishra, a former income tax officer, is pushing for vacant posts to be filled by IRS officers.
New Delhi: Officers of the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) seem to be reclaiming the Enforcement Directorate (ED), India’s specialised financial investigation agency, from their Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and Indian Police Service (IPS) counterparts.
According to sources, ED chief S.K. Mishra, a former income tax officer, is pushing for key vacancies in the agency to be filled with IRS officers.
Currently, there are 12 vacant posts in the ED, including that of three special directors, seven joint directors and two additional directors.
Sources said the candidates under consideration for the appointments were all from the IRS, with the brass reluctant to pick IPS or IAS officers to the posts.
Also read: ED seen as ‘tool of harassment’, work to restore its credibility: New chief tells officers
15 years under IAS, IPS officers
The ED falls under the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance, but has for long been led by IAS and IPS officers.
The agency was formed in the 1950s to tackle foreign exchange-related violations, a civil provision, but its mandate was extended to money laundering, a criminal offence, after the introduction of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act in 2005.
The last time the ED had an IRS officer as chief was 15 years ago.
Mishra, who took over last October, was preceded in office by a series of IAS and IPS officers: Karnal Singh, his immediate predecessor, is a 1984-batch IPS officer. The three officers who led the ED before Singh were all IAS officers — Arun Mathur (UT cadre), Sudhir Nath (MP cadre) and S.S. Dabra (Punjab cadre).
IPS pool shrinks
Currently, out of the agency’s 22 joint directors, only three are products of the IPS: Neeraj Kumar Gupta (Delhi zonal office II), Abhishek Goyal (Cochin zonal office) and Raman Gupta (Bengaluru zonal office).
The remaining 19 are all IRS officers.
Principal director Simanchala Dash and two special directors, D.K. Gupta and regional special director Vivek R. Wadekar, are IRS officers as well.
The current IPS crop in the ED also includes regional special directors Vineet Aggarwal and Yogesh Gupta.
Also read: Enforcement Directorate has become an ‘embarrassing disaster’ under Modi, says Congress
As a retired IRS officer, I feel honoured to see the control ED rightfully regained by our younger colleagues. The Congress wanted only the pliable officers in all these sensitive departments under the deptt of Revenue (itself always headed by an IAS only who is always junior to Chairman of the CBDT from the IRS) only because the direct descendants of the ICS are naturally back boneless and are characteristically and by training pliable.
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