With Amit Shah assuming the charge of the Home Ministry, BJP MP Nishikant Dubey Sunday said the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which investigates crimes related to money laundering, should be shifted from the Ministry of Finance to Home. The MP said that he has written a letter to the prime minister in this regard.
The ED functions under the Department of Revenue in the Finance Ministry. The probe agency’s director post is equivalent to the rank of an additional secretary and reports to the revenue secretary. It broadly deals with the matters pertaining to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).
Dubey said that in his letter to the prime minister he has contended that most of the cases registered under FEMA are for those offences which come under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) or Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act or the Arms Act and others. Under the present system, the Enforcement Directorate cannot independently register a case under the PMLA and it has to mandatorily take cognizance of a case registered under other laws like the IPC, NDPS or the Passport Act among others.
“Current establishment in the ED predominantly consists of officers from the finance ministry who do not have adequate expertise or training in matters pertaining to the IPC or other such laws,” Dubey said, adding knowledge of such laws is an essential prerequisite to deal with PMLA matters.
“Given that majority of the scheduled offences are in the domain of the Ministry of Home Affairs, it is a natural corollary that the PMLA must be moved to the ministry and also the ED,” he said.
The parliamentarian said shifting the ED to the home ministry makes more sense as it is being headed by Shah “who is decisive, pro-active and unbiased”. Dubey also cited the case of shifting the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) to the home ministry from finance as it is believed operational issues of the NCB would be better handled in the MHA.