Senior bureaucrat Girish Chandra Murmu, who was principal secretary to Narendra Modi during his tenure as chief minister, is likely to head the Enforcement Directorate (ED) which is currently in the news because of the Lalit Modi controversy.
The Gujarat-cadre IAS officer was empanelled on Tuesday as additional secretary along with 52 officials of the 1985 batch, paving the way for him to become the ED director — a vacant post for the past several months.
Murmu is currently serving as joint secretary (expenditure) in the ministry of finance.
“He enjoys complete trust of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and also BJP president Amit Shah,” a senior official said.
“The ED is a very powerful agency where the PM would want his trusted officer to be in it as all important cases related to money laundering, black money and hawala transactions are dealt by it,” he added.
The ED, which reports to the finance ministry, is investigating the alleged financial irregularities of former IPL chief Lalit Modi and his transactions with a company owned by Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje’s son, Dushyant Singh.
In April this year, Murmu was deputed to the central government and appointed joint secretary, department of expenditure in the finance ministry. This sparked speculation that he would be appointed as the ED boss, but the post required his promotion to additional secretary rank.
At presently, heavy industries secretary Rajan Katoch is holding additional charge of ED director. “Katoch got an extension till July. Before that, Murmu is likely to be named for the post,” an official said.
In Gujarat, Murmu was part of Narendra Modi’s top team in the chief minister’s office, looking after the crucial home department. He handled important cases related to the 2002 riots and alleged extra-judicial killings of Sohrabuddin and Ishrat Jehan.
He is equally close to BJP chief Shah, who was junior home minister when Murmu was principal secretary (law and order).