Enforcement Directorate Director Sanjay Kumar Mishra’s Resignation: An Overview

Enforcement Directorate (ED) Director Sanjay Kumar Mishra is set to make his final appearance as the head of the government agency today. This notable development comes in the wake of the Central government’s request to the Supreme Court of India for an extension of Mishra’s tenure until October 15th, a request that was granted by the apex court, albeit with a one-month reduction from the initially sought extension.

In a noteworthy development in July, the Supreme Court of India had taken cognizance of the tenure of SK Mishra as the Director of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and had made a significant decision regarding its extension. The apex court had noted that SK Mishra’s tenure as the ED chief would be extended, but with a specific end date of 15th September, citing ‘national interest’ as the primary consideration for this extension.

Sanjay Mishra: A Notable Figure in the Enforcement Directorate’s Leadership

Sanjay Kumar Mishra, a 62-year-old veteran of the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) since 1984, has gained prominence in his role as the head of the Enforcement Directorate (ED). Hailing from Uttar Pradesh, Mishra’s career has been marked by his exceptional investigative abilities, particularly in handling high-profile cases during his tenure as the chief commissioner of Income Tax in Delhi.

Mishra’s journey at the helm of the ED began in October 2018 when he was initially appointed as the interim Director of the agency for a three-month period. Subsequently, in November 2018, he was officially designated as the full-time chief, with an initial fixed tenure of two years.

However, as his tenure was approaching its conclusion in 2020, the Union government discreetly extended it retrospectively, effectively turning it into a three-year term. This move raised questions and was challenged before the Supreme Court of India.

In a significant ruling in 2021, the Supreme Court issued a directive against any further extension of Mishra’s tenure, emphasizing the importance of adhering to established norms and preventing undue prolongation of leadership roles. This development prompted the Central government to resort to an Ordinance to enable Mishra’s continued tenure as the Director of the ED.

Sanjay Kumar Mishra is only the second bureaucrat during this administration for whom the government has enacted an Ordinance to extend their tenure in a particular position. The first instance involved former Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, Nripendra Misra.

This series of events highlights Mishra’s significant role and tenure in the ED, the complexities surrounding the extension of high-ranking government officials’ terms, and the legal and procedural actions taken by the government to maintain continuity in leadership within crucial agencies like the ED.

Sanjay Mishra’s Controversial Tenure Extension as ED Chief

The tenure extension of Sanjay Kumar Mishra as the Director of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has been a subject of controversy and legal scrutiny. Here’s a timeline of the extensions and the events surrounding them:

November 13, 2020: Sanjay Mishra’s original appointment letter stipulated a fixed tenure of two years as the ED chief. However, on this date, an order was issued that altered the terms, granting him his first extension. This extension effectively extended his tenure to a period of three years.

November 17, 2021: In a subsequent development, the Narendra Modi-led government granted Sanjay Mishra a second extension, prolonging his tenure for an additional year until November 18, 2022. This extension was facilitated through the introduction of an ordinance that permitted the directors of both the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to serve in their respective offices for up to five years.

November 18, 2022: The Central government, once again, extended Sanjay Mishra’s tenure, this time until November 18, 2023.

Supreme Court’s Intervention: However, the Supreme Court intervened in this matter and ruled against the extended term, asserting that the extension could only be granted until September 15, 2023, effectively reducing the tenure extension that was initially sought.

This series of extensions and legal interventions underscores the complexities surrounding the tenure of high-ranking government officials and the mechanisms by which such extensions are granted. The Supreme Court’s ruling reinforces the importance of adhering to established norms and procedures in ensuring the transparency and legality of administrative decisions, even in matters of leadership continuity within crucial government agencies like the ED.

Supreme Court Criticizes the Centre Over Numerous Extensions for Mishra

The Supreme Court’s response to the Centre’s repeated demands for the extension of Sanjay Mishra’s tenure as the Director of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has been marked by strong criticism. During the last extension request in July, the Supreme Court delivered scathing remarks, questioning the government’s approach and the perceived overreliance on the incumbent chief:

The Supreme Court bench expressed its dissatisfaction, asking whether the entire department is “full of incompetent people” except for the current chief. The court’s remarks implied concern over the impression that there may be a lack of qualified individuals within the department capable of assuming leadership roles.

Furthermore, the top court, in a previous ruling dated July 11, declared the two successive one-year extensions granted to Mishra as “illegal.” The court stated that these extensions were in direct violation of its earlier mandate, outlined in a 2021 verdict, which explicitly specified that the IRS officer, Sanjay Mishra, should not be granted any further extensions to his term.

Enforcement Directorate’s Investigations During SK Mishra’s Tenure and Opposition Accusations

During Sanjay Kumar Mishra’s tenure as the Director of the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the agency conducted several high-profile investigations that garnered attention and drew criticism from opposition parties. These investigations targeted prominent opposition figures, leading to accusations from opposition parties that the Central government was allegedly using the ED as a tool to target political opponents. Some of the notable investigations and figures involved include:

  • Rahul Gandhi: The former Congress president faced ED inquiries during this period.
  • P. Chidambaram and Karti Chidambaram: The former Finance Minister and his son Karti Chidambaram, a parliamentarian, were subject to ED investigations.
  • Hemant Soren: The Chief Minister of Jharkhand, a member of the opposition, also faced inquiries from the ED.
  • D.K. Shivakumar: The Karnataka Congress chief was another opposition leader who came under the ED’s scrutiny.
  • Sharad Pawar: The veteran NCP leader and former Union Minister faced investigations during this time.
  • Anil Deshmukh: The former Home Minister of Maharashtra was subject to ED inquiries.
  • AAP Ministers: Manish Sisodia and Satyender Jain, both associated with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), were investigated by the ED.
  • Tamil Nadu’s Minister Senthilbalaji: Another prominent figure investigated by the ED.

It’s important to note that during this period, the ED reportedly registered approximately 4,000 cases and conducted around 3,000 searches. However, as per a report by The Hindu, politicians or functionaries associated with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), both at the central and state levels, appeared to be relatively less prominent in the agency’s investigations.

Niyati Rao

Niyati Rao is a seasoned writer and avid consumer who specializes in crafting informative and engaging articles and product reviews. With a passion for research and a knack for finding the best deals, Niyati enjoys helping readers make informed decisions about their purchases.