The Enforcement Directorate (ED), which tracks overseas transactions and money laundering deals, is set for major organisational expansion. The move aims at enabling the ED to cast its net wider for money allegedly stashed away in secret bank accounts in overseas tax havens.
The department whose importance had ebbed in the 1990s after India did away with a host of forex-related restrictions, is now brimming with new vigour.ED’s staff strength is set to nearly triple from the current 813 to about 2,100 over the next year, government sources told HT.
ED, which is under the administrative control of the finance ministry’s revenue department, is tasked with investigations of alleged violations in Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002.
It monitors remittances of Indians through non-banking channels, illegal acquisition of foreign currency, non-repatriation of export income, unauthorised maintenance of accounts in foreign countries, manipulation of export income and import payments, siphoning off of foreign exchange against fictitious and bogus imports and hawala transactions among others.
As many as 1,300 additional posts will be created at all levels in the directorate to widen its staff network. The number of special directors will be doubled to six. The directorate will operate out of 32 zones in the country, instead of the current 10. This will ensure ED’s presence in almost all state capitals.
Each of these zones will be headed by a joint director and will be supported by a legal adviser and two assistant legal advisers to expedite prosecution.
The number of deputy directors will increase four times to 150, the number of assistant directors will jump to 250 from the current 40, while enforcement officers will more than triple to 350 from the current 104, sources said.