ED chief’s tenure extended in public interest as various cases are at crucial juncture: Centre to SC

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New Delhi: The tenure of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) chief has been extended in public interest as various cases are at a crucial juncture and continuity of officers is required for their proper and expeditious disposal, the Centre has told the Supreme Court.

The finance ministry has informed the top court in an affidavit that a freshly appointed person may take time to take stock and acclimatise to the working of the new organisation.

“Extension in the term of the director of ED beyond two years and up to a maximum of five years was necessitated from the administrative standpoint wherein continuity of the head of the organisation is required for several cases which are at a crucial juncture and require historical knowledge and background for supervision of such cases.

“Continuity of officers at the helm of the agency is required for proper and expeditious disposal of cases,” it has said in the affidavit.

The affidavit was submitted in response to PILs filed by political leaders challenging the extension of tenure of the ED chief and the amended law allowing such extensions up to five years.

The ministry said the amendment to extend the tenure of the director was made as the specialised work required to be administered by the premier agency is a continuous process and the person leading the organisation should have a tenure of two to five years.

The government had earlier questioned the bonafide of the PILs filed by political leaders challenging the measure and termed it “pressure tactics”.

The top court, which fixed as many as eight PILs, including those filed by politicians Randeep Singh Surjewala and Mahua Moitra, for final disposal on September 19, had also appointed senior advocate K V Viswanathan as amicus curiae (friend of the court) to assist it in dealing with the pleas.

The court had issued notices on the PILs filed by Surjewala and Jaya Thakur, both Congress leaders, TMC MP Moitra, Saket Gokhale, Krishan Chander Singh, Vineet Narain and Manohar Lal Sharma on August 2.

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