Indian Revenue Service officer Sanjay Mishra was on Saturday appointed as the new Enforcement Directorate Director (ED) in an additional capacity for three months. He has also been appointed as the Principal Special Director in the same agency. Karnal Singh, the present ED chief, is set to retire today after heading the agency for more than two-and-half years.
Mishra, a 1984-batch IPS officer of Union Territories cadre, is the chief commissioner of Income Tax in Delhi. I-T department sources said he has been involved in the probe against NDTV and has “guided” the investigation in the National Herald case involving the Gandhi family. Mishra has also served in Ahmedabad and has done stints in the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Enforcement Directorate.
According to news agency PTI, official sources said Mishra has not been empanelled as an additional secretary in the central government and hence, has been given the top ED charge in an additional capacity. He is expected to be empanelled soon and subsequently, will head the ED in a regular capacity, they added.
There was speculation earlier that Karnal Singh’s tenure may be extended again but sources said developments in the CBI, especially in the past one week which saw the government sending the agency’s two top officers on administrative leave, seem to have scuttled his chances of continuing on the post.
Karnal Singh, sources said, too had decided to step back. He was given three extensions of three-month tenures in 2016 when he had an additional charge of the Director’s post. Following a court order, he was granted a two-year tenure effective October 2016.
The development is also being seen as a fallout of the complaint CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana sent to Cabinet Secretary and the manner in which the government responded. In his complaint, Asthana named ED Joint Director Rajeshwar Singh and CBI Director Alok Verma as the two persons making “concerted efforts to tarnish my image”.
Incidentally, Karnal Singh and Alok Verma share the same UT cadre and both have had long stints in the Delhi Police.
Karnal Singh is also perceived to be close to Rajeshwar Singh. When the government gave an R&AW note against Rajeshwar Singh to the Supreme Court — the note alleged that Rajeshwar Singh had received a call from an ISI agent — Karnal Singh issued an official press release, defending his colleague and denying the charges.