The government has brought two ordinances to extend the tenures of the CBI and Enforcement Directorate chiefs to up to five years. The chiefs of the central agencies currently have a two-year tenure.Both the ordinances have been signed off by President Ram Nath Kovind.
The chiefs of the top agencies can be given extensions, as per the ordinances, every year for up to three years after they complete the two-year term.
“Provided that the period for which the Director of Enforcement holds the office on his initial appointment may, in public interest, on the recommendation of the Committee under clause(a) and for the reasons to be recorded in writing, be extended up to one year at a time: Provided further that no such extension shall be granted after the completion of a period of five years in total including the period mentioned in the initial appointment,” an official statement reads.
A Supreme Court bench – headed by Justice LN Rao – recently gave a judgment in the case linked to the extension of Enforcement Directorte chief SK Mishra, who took charge in 2018, underlining the extension of tenure “should be done only in rare and exceptional cases”.
The ordinances come ahead of the completion of his tenure on November 17, which was extended by another year last year, in what was called as an “unprecented move” by critics.
The Enforcement Directorate, “a specialized financial investigation agency under the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance”, investiagates cases linked to Foreign Exchange Laws and Regulations and money laundering.
The opposition parties, in the past, have accused the government of misusing central investigative agencies amid probes targeting top leaders and former ministers.