The Centre is yet to appoint a new director of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) although the term of the incumbent chief, Sanjay Kumar Mishra, ends on Friday.
On July 27, the Supreme Court had extended Mishra’s tenure till September 15, “taking into consideration the larger public interest”, although the apex court had earlier held that his previous extension itself was “illegal” and he cannot continue beyond July 31.
The Centre had sought that Mishra’s tenure be extended till October 15 on the ground that his services were required for a review visit by a Financial Action Task Force (FATF) team that would have a bearing on foreign financial aid.
A Union home ministry official said the ED director was appointed according to the provisions of the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003. The Centre appoints the director on the recommendation of a panel comprising two vigilance commissioners and the secretaries of home, finance and the department of personnel and training, with the central vigilance commissioner as chairperson. The panel appoints the new director in consultation with the outgoing director.
“So far there is no clarity on whether the panel has finalised any name for the new director,” the home ministry official told The Telegraph.
Mishra, believed to be close to the political leadership, had taken over as ED chief on November 19, 2018, for a period of two years but was given three extensions by the Centre. The Opposition has been alleging that the Modi government is using investigative agencies like the ED to target rivals and critics.
Sources said Central Board of Direct Taxes chairperson Nitin Gupta and Maharashtra-cadre IPS officer Rashmi Shukla, presently the chief of the paramilitary force SSB, were said to be in the fray for the ED top job.