The Congress on Sunday attacked the Center over its move to issue an ordinance by which the tenure of directors of the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate can now be extended to a maximum of five years, saying the government has “used both the agencies”. henchmen” who are now being rewarded so that “malicious prosecution” can be used to silence dissenting voices.
Directors of CBI and ED enjoy a fixed tenure of two years from the date of their appointment in view of the Supreme Court’s directions in the famous Vineet Narayan case.
According to two ordinances brought by the government on Sunday, the tenure of directors of CBI and ED can now be from the current two years to a maximum of five years.
Reacting to the development, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala alleged that the Modi government uses the ED-CBI as “henchmen to grab power and destabilize elected governments”.
He said that raids on opposition leaders by ED and CBI have become common.
Surjewala tweeted, “Now, these operatives are being empowered and rewarded with a 5-year term for using malicious prosecution to stifle voices of dissent.”
In another tweet, the Congress spokesperson said, “In the Modi government, the actual description of ED-CBI is -: ED = Election Department! CBI = Samjhauta Bureau of Investigation!”
“Naturally, the retired officers were being given repeated extensions earlier. Now, a straight five-year tenure has been fixed,” he said.
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari tweeted, “Both ordinances promulgated by NDA/BJP government go against the spirit of Jain Hawala judgment, which provided stability of tenure to protect Director CBI and ED from political interference.”
“Question-1 Why to extend the tenure by 2-5 years? Are they no competent officers left in the country. Question No.-2 Hanging the temptation of annual extension in front of the people occupying these sensitive offices, the NDA/BJP government Wants to remove whatever is left of the institutional integrity of these two organisations, obviously hound the opposition and get extensions,” he said in another tweet.
The former Union minister said that even more trouble is the use of ordinances to repeatedly obstruct the law-making work of Parliament.
“Parliament is likely to meet on November 29, 2021. What was the hurry to promulgate these ordinances at the end of the winter session,” he said.
Reacting to the development, another senior Congress leader and spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi tweeted, “Doubling the tenure of 5 years for misused agency heads. Ordinance Raj, Modi government’s preferred route, 14 from Parliament meeting Sets aside parliamentary inquiry days ago. Extension copy turned down by the apex court.”
The Central Vigilance Commission (Amendment) Ordinance, comes barely three days before the retirement of Enforcement Directorate chief SK Mishra, a 1984 batch IRS officer.
The government had given him an extension of one year in 2020 after the completion of his fixed two-year term.
The matter was heard by the Supreme Court this year, which did not quash the extension, but asked the government not to grant Mishra any further extension beyond November 17.
However, with the promulgation of the ordinance, it remains to be seen whether Mishra will continue as the ED chief, officials said.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)