IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


27th January, 2024 Polity


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Picture Courtesy: www.lawinsider.in

Context: The escalating tensions between the Jharkhand Chief Minister and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) appear to be rooted in a series of events related to the agency's investigations into alleged scams and illegal activities involving government officials in the state.

Key points from the provided information

  • The ED has been conducting investigations into alleged scams and illegal activities involving IAS officers in Jharkhand. The agency claims to have uncovered significant illegal mining activities, estimating the scam at Rs 1,250 crore.

Government's Response

  • The Jharkhand government has taken a defensive stance against the ED's actions. The government issued guidelines on dealing with notices or summons from external investigation agencies, requiring state officials to inform the nodal head or head of the department instead of directly providing records to the agencies.

ED's Response to Government's Intervention

  • The Enforcement Directorate has criticized the Jharkhand government's guidelines, stating that state officials are not legally authorized to intervene or obtain details of an ongoing investigation under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The ED sees the government's intervention as "illegal interference."

Enforcement Directorate - States Tussle

  • The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is a central agency tasked with investigating financial crimes like money laundering and foreign exchange violations. However, its recent actions in some states governed by opposition parties have triggered a tussle, raising concerns about federal overreach and political misuse.


The ED was established in 1956 under the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA) to combat money laundering and foreign exchange malpractices.

Over the years, its mandate has expanded to include investigating offences under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015 (BMIT), and Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018 (FEOA).

The ED functions under the Department of Revenue in the Ministry of Finance, making it directly accountable to the central government.

Reasons for the Tussle

  • The ED has been accused of focusing its investigations on states governed by parties opposed to the ruling at the centre.
  • Critics allege that the ED is being used as a tool to target political opponents and silence dissent. They point to instances where ED raids and summonses have coincided with upcoming elections or political events in opposition-ruled states.
  • Some argue that the ED's actions infringe upon the federal structure of India, as law enforcement is primarily a state subject. They believe the central agency is overstepping its boundaries by investigating matters that fall under the purview of state police.

Impact of the Tussle

  • The ongoing tussle has eroded public trust in the ED and its impartiality. It raises concerns about the potential misuse of a powerful investigative agency for political ends.
  • The selective targeting of opposition-ruled states could weaken the cooperative spirit of federalism in India. It might create an environment of distrust and hinder collaborative efforts between the centre and states.
  • The ED's actions have further polarized the political landscape in India. The accusations and counter-accusations have led to a toxic atmosphere that hinders constructive dialogue and policy-making.

Steps Taken

  • Judicial Scrutiny: Several state governments have challenged ED actions in court, seeking to quash summonses and raids. The Supreme Court has intervened in some cases, upholding federalism and emphasizing due process.
  • Legislative Reforms: Some states have proposed amendments to their respective police laws to restrict the ED's jurisdiction within their borders. However, these proposals face legal challenges and raise concerns about creating a patchwork of laws across the country.
  • Dialogue and Transparency: There is a growing demand for open dialogue and increased transparency in the ED's functioning. This could involve setting up independent oversight mechanisms and ensuring fair and impartial investigations, regardless of the political affiliation of the individuals involved.


  • Balancing National Security and Federalism: Striking a balance between national security concerns and respecting the autonomy of states remains a key challenge. The ED needs to be able to effectively investigate financial crimes while ensuring its actions do not undermine the federal structure of India.
  • Political Interference: Preventing political interference in the ED's operations is crucial. Robust internal mechanisms and independent oversight are essential to ensure the agency's impartiality and credibility.
  • Public Perception: Restoring public trust in the ED and its commitment to fair and impartial investigations is critical. This requires proactive measures to address concerns about bias and ensure transparency in its operations.

Way Forward

  • Strengthening Institutional Frameworks: Robust legal frameworks and independent oversight mechanisms are essential to prevent misuse of the ED and uphold its impartiality.
  • Collaborative Approach: Fostering a spirit of cooperation and dialogue between the Centre and states is crucial to addressing concerns about federal overreach and building trust in the system.
  • Judicial Intervention: The judiciary can play a crucial role in upholding federalism and ensuring due process in ED investigations. Clear guidelines and principles established by the courts can help prevent misuse of the agency.
  • Transparency and Accountability: The ED needs to be more transparent in its operations and accountable to the public. Regular reporting on its activities and proactive communication can help address concerns and build trust.


  • The ED states tussle is a complex issue with no easy solutions. Addressing the concerns of federal overreach, political misuse, and ensuring fair investigations requires a multi-pronged approach involving legal reforms, institutional strengthening, and a commitment to transparency and accountability. Finding a balance between national security and federalism will be crucial in ensuring the ED's effectiveness while upholding the principles of a democratic India.

Must Read Articles:

ENFORCEMENT DIRECTORATE: https://www.iasgyan.in/daily-current-affairs/enforcement-directorate-32


Q. The ED's mandate encompasses both national security and federalism. How can the agency effectively investigate financial crimes across states while respecting the autonomy and jurisdiction of state police forces? Can a one-size-fits-all approach be adopted, or should there be regional considerations in ED operations?