The government on Sunday released two ordinances extending the tenure of the CBI and Enforcement Directorate chiefs up to five years, reports NDTV. The tenure of the chief of central agencies is currently two years. Further, they could be given extensions for up to three years after they complete the two-year term.
"...Whereas the parliament is not in session and the President is satisfied that circumstances exist which render it necessary for him to take immediate action," the ordinances, signed off by President Ram Nath Kovind, said. It further added 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."
A bench headed by Justice LN Rao of the Supreme Court recently gave a judgement underlining that the extension of tenure "should be done only in rare and exceptional cases". The court was hearing a case linked to the extension of Enforcement Directorate chief SK Mishra. Mishra took charge in 2018. The new development comes ahead of the completion of his tenure. Mishra is supposed to complete his tenure on November 17. Last year, it was extended by a year in what critics called an 'unprecedented move'.
The ED, a special financial investigation agency, investigates cases linked to Foreign Exchange Laws and Regulations and money laundering. It comes under the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance. In the past, opposition parties have accused the government of misusing central investigation agencies to target opposition leaders.