The powerful and ubiquitous ED

Source: The post is based on the article “The powerful and ubiquitous ED” published in the Indian Express on 2nd August 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 – Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies..

Relevance: To understand the increasing powers of central agencies.

News: Now a days central agencies have taken over the investigation of sensational cases which were once done by state police forces. Now, only the Enforcement Directorate (ED), National Investigation Agency (NIA), Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), are in the limelight.

Among them ED became a prime agency following the enactment of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in 2002. Recently, the Supreme Court also acknowledged the ED’s sweeping powers under the PMLA.

What increased the powers of the central agencies?

Over the past few years, major amendments in key Acts have given teeth to central agencies. These agencies have the mandate for investigations across the country and are not bound by any jurisdictions.

This made the central agencies as big brothers of investigations, while state and city police forces function in their shadows with limited powers and jurisdictions.

The NIA, CBI, NCB, and other central investigative agencies now investigating high-profile cases. For instance, the Aryan Khan drug case and the drug nexus investigation in the Sushant Singh Rajput case by the NCB. Investigations in the Antilia case by the NIA.

Must read: The functioning of the Enforcement Directorate
What is the status of ED?

The ED is the only central investigative agency that does not require permission from the government or any authority to summon or prosecute politicians or government officials for inquiry into economic offences and financial crimes like money laundering.

Raids conducted by the ED between 2014 and 2022 had jumped 27 times as compared to the raids conducted during 2004-2014. Between 2004 and 2014 the number of ED raids was 114, which, in the period between 2014 and 2022, in a span of just eight years, increased to 3,010.

Read more: How Enforcement Directorate (ED) became so powerful?

The increased role of central agencies made the City and state police forces suffer a major loss of reputation. Mumbai Police, once considered second only to Scotland Yard has not had the same fame anymore.

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