It is not often that the reign of Enforcement Directorate (ED) is handed over to an IPS officer. In fact after a long gap of almost four decades that an IPS officer was given the responsibility of the agency. Karnal Singh, IPS 1984 batch, served as the ED chief for three years spearheading some of the country’s most high profile cases — 2G scam, Vijay Mallya, Hassan Ali, Aircel-Maxis and INX media deal, Sandesara scam, AgustaWestland Helicopter scam, Coal Block scam, Saradha and Rose Valley chit fund scam.
As Karnal Singh stepped down as head of Enforcement Directorate on Saturday, it marked the end of his eventful tenure. On this occasion, Karnal Singh took to Twitter and expressed his gratitude towards all the officers that he worked with.
In his second tweet, he congratulated the newly appointed ED chief, Mr. Sanjay Mishra.
It is often said in power corridors that a posting in the ED isn’t the most desirable. But the staff welfare measures were taken during the tenure of Karnal Singh certainly helped to change this image. When Singh joined ED the staff strength was around 700 officer and by the time he handed over the reigns the figure crossed the 1000 mark.
“About 80% of the recommendations now get rejected during verification by regional zones and a committee set up at ED headquarters,” said an ED official.
Several ED officials that Republic TV spoke to said that Singh ensured that officials in the agency got the special incentive allowance on the lines of their counterparts in the CBI.
“He is a fine officer. A mentor he would surely be missed. He brought in the necessary changes,” said a top ED officer.
Numbers do speak for Karnal Singh’s tenure. As against attachments worth Rs 9,003 crore in 2,045 cases booked under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act over the past decade, during Singh’s three-year term, the agency attached assets worth Rs 33,563 crore in 536 cases.
Attachment of properties worth Rs 21,319 crore has already been confirmed, the agency said.
In all, 528 provisional attachment orders were confirmed during the period, as opposed to 355 from July 2005 to March 2015. While 8,452 investigations were initiated, the probe was completed in 5,495 cases compared to 4,725 cases in the past decade.
One of the major hurdles that the agency faced all this while is the fact that they did not have a dedicated forensic laboratory. In order to increase the speed of the investigations, Singh opened six in-house cyber labs in all regions — Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chandigarh.
The government has now appointed IRS officer Sanjay Kumar Mishra as the new Principal Special Director who has also been given the additional charge of Director, ED. One of the major challenges that Mishra would face is to increase the conviction rate of cases.