Who is Sanjay Kumar Mishra, ED director whose 3rd extension SC termed ‘illegal’?

Jul 11, 2023 03:05 PM IST

Supreme Court declares the third extension of service granted to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) chief Sanjay Kumar Mishra as "illegal".

In a huge setback to the Centre, the Supreme Court on Tuesday termed the third extension of service granted to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) chief Sanjay Kumar Mishra “illegal”, giving him time till July 31 to relinquish office. A three-judge bench, headed by Justice BR Gavai, held that Mishra could not have been granted the extension beyond November 2022 in view of a previous order of the Supreme Court in 2021.

ED director Sanjay Kumar Mishra
ED director Sanjay Kumar Mishra

The extension of Mishra was challenged by a bundle of petitions, which banked on the September 2021 order of the top court. The petitioners included Congress leaders Randeep Singh Surjewala, Jaya Thakur, and Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra among others.

Number of extensions were given to Mishra

Mishra was initially appointed as ED director for a two-year tenure ending in November 2020. He was granted a one-year extension, which was challenged in the top court by an NGO, Common Cause. While the court allowed the extension in a September 2021 judgment given his tenure was coming to an end in about two months, it was clear that no further extension was to be granted to Mishra.

The Union government introduced amendments to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) Act and the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act that allowed the extension of service ED and CBI chiefs for a period of three years beyond their two-year tenure by granting extensions of one-year each.

Under the amendment, which was challenged in the apex court, Mishra got an extension from November 2021 to November 2022. Last November, his tenure was further extended by a notification till November 2023.

Who is Sanjay Kumar Mishra?

Sanjay Kumar Mishra is an Indian Revenue Service officer of the 1984 batch. The 1984 batch IRS officer Sanjay Kumar Mishra was appointed as the interim director of the Enforcement Directorate for three months in October 2018 before he was made full-time chief. Mishra, 63, is an economic expert and is said to have investigated several high-level cases in Income Tax brilliantly because of which he was appointed as ED chief, according to CNBC. Prior to his appointment, Mishra was posted as chief commissioner of Income Tax in Delhi.

During his tenure, several high-profile political leaders, often from the opposition parties, have come under the ED scrutiny. The opposition parties have often accused the government of misusing the central probe agency to target their leaders.

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