The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that the two extensions given to incumbent Enforcement Directorate chief Sanjay Kumar Mishra after November 2021 were illegal.
A bench of Justices BR Gavai, Vikram Nath, and Sanjay Karol said that those extensions were in violation of the Supreme Court’s 2021 judgment in which it had directed the government not to extend Mishra’s tenure any further, Live Law reported.
After the Union government had expressed concern over finding a new chief in the middle of a peer review being carried out by the Financial Action Task Force, the apex court permitted Kumar to continue in his position till July 31.
The bench was hearing a bunch of petitions challenging the extensions granted to Mishra. Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra and Congress leader Randeep Surjewala were among the petitioners.
Mishra had first been appointed as the Enforcement Directorate director for a period of two years on November 19, 2018. In 2020, his tenure was extended for a year by the Union government. In November 2021, despite the Supreme Court’s ruling, the government introduced ordinance to ensure that the director of the Enforcement Directorate could have tenures of up to five years. This enabled Mishra to continue for another year. In November 2022, the government again extended his tenure for a year. He was to remain in office till November 18, 2023, according to the notification issued by the government.
Opposition leaders have been alleging Mishra’s extension was politically motivated as many non-BJP leaders are being targetted by the Enforcement Directorate.