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More teeth and bigger muscles

GS paper 2

Syllabus: Statutory, regulatory and various constitutional bodies etc


Directions: ED and NIA have off late been in News often for various reasons.

Source: Indian Express



  • Since 2014, the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) has investigated 121 prominent politicians and has arrested, questioned, raided, or filed FIRs against 115 major Opposition leaders.


Analysis of Powers with ED:

  • Power Contrary to CBI: Unlike agencies, particularly the CBI, the PMLA allows the ED to take cognizance of any offence with or without the consent of state governments.
  • Powers contrary to NIA: The types of offences that NIA can investigate are limited to about a dozen offences compared to ED which enjoys a wide-ranging schedule across the country.
  • Wider extent: The ED’s ambit extends from serious crimes such as terrorism to the hunting of wild animals, and from the infringement of copyright to false trademarks.
  • Other powers under PMLA:
    • It gives investigators the power to arrest and attach properties and assets of accused
    • Impose stringent bail conditions
    • Make a statement recorded before an investigating officer admissible in court as evidence


Powers through various amendments:

  • ‘Criminal conspiracy’ under Section 120B of IPC: It was added to the PMLA’s schedule among various other offences.
  • International jurisdiction: For tracking laundered money
  • Amendments in 2015 and 2018: The ED was allowed to attach properties in India equivalent to properties acquired abroad through laundered money.
  • Explanations inserted into the PMLA in 2019: The government allowed the ED to attach properties earned directly or indirectly through alleged criminal activity.


Issues with the PMLA:

  • Statement admissible: It is the only Act in the country in which a statement recorded before an investigating officer is admissible in court as evidence.
  • Strict bail conditions: SC upheld the validity of all the provisions of the PMLA, including strict bail conditions in money laundering cases.


Insta Links:




Mains Links:

Q. India’s proximity to two of the world’s biggest illicit opium-growing states has enhanced her internal security concerns. Explain the linkages between drug trafficking and other illicit activities such as gunrunning, money laundering and human trafficking. What counter-measures should be taken to prevent the same? (UPSC 2018)


Prelims Links:

  • PMLA
  • ED
  • CBI
  • NIA


Q. With reference to the Directorate of Enforcement (ED), consider the following statements:

  1. It investigates offences of money laundering and violations of foreign exchange laws.
  2. It functions under the Home Ministry.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

a. 1 only

b. 2 only

c. Both 1 and 2

d. Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (a)


  • The Directorate of Enforcement (ED) is a multi-disciplinary organization mandated to the investigation of offences of money laundering and violations of foreign exchange laws.
  • It functions under the Department of Revenue of the Ministry of Financ