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Enforcement Directorate Structure, Meaning and Objective

The Enforcement Directorate was founded on May 1st, 1956, and is based in New Delhi. It is also known as ED, is a law enforcement organization tasked with enforcing economic laws and combating economic crime in India, such as money laundering and foreign exchange irregularities. According to the terms of the Central Vigilance Commission Act 2003, the director of the Enforcement Directorate is chosen. Since most of the money is kept abroad, the ED has a difficult time following the money’s route.

Title Description
Purpose For handling the exchange control law violation under the foreign exchange Regulation Act of 1947.
  • Department of economic affairs as an “Enforcement Unit” and later in 1960 shifted to the Department of Revenue for Administration.
  • In 1957, it was renamed the Enforcement Directorate.
Headquarters New Delhi, India
Head The Director of Enforcement, an Indian Revenue Service officer.
Regional offices Chandigarh, Kolkata, Chennai, and Mumbai.

Enforcement Directorate History

  • The Enforcement Directorate is in charge of looking into economic crimes and violations of laws governing foreign currency.
  • By the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act of 1947 (FERA ’47), the Department of Economic Affairs originally established this Directorate on May 1st, 1956, when it established an “Enforcement Unit” to deal with Exchange Control Law infractions.
  • The Legal Service Officer functioning as Director of Enforcement in this unit, which had Delhi as its base of operations, was assisted by three Special Police Establishment Inspectors and an Officer on Appointment from the Reserve Bank of India.
  • The branches were situated in Bombay and Calcutta, two cities. In 1957, the “Enforcement Directorate” was given a new name for this organization, and a Madras branch was added.
  • In 1960, the Directorate’s management was transferred from the Department of Economic Affairs to the Department of Revenue.
  • FERA’47 was eventually repealed and replaced with FERA in 1973.
  • For a brief time of four years (1973-1977), the Directorate was still managed administratively by the Department of Personnel & Administrative Reforms.
  • The Directorate is currently governed administratively by the Department of Revenue, the Ministry of Finance, and the Government of India.
  • As Per the International Anti-Money Laundering framework, the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002(PMLA), was also passed, and on July 1st, 2005, ED was granted responsibility for its enforcement.
  • In response to an increase in cases involving economic criminals seeking asylum in other countries, the government recently passed the Fugitive Economic Criminals Act, 2018 (FEOA), and ED is responsible for its enforcement starting on April 21, 2018.

Objectives of ED

The primary goal of the ED is to uphold the provisions of the following two special fiscal laws:

  • Foreign Exchange Management Act of 1999 (FEMA)
  • Prevention of Money Laundering Act of 2002 (PMLA)

Enforcement Directorate Laws

Investigation of instances involving money laundering and transgressions of foreign exchange laws falls within the purview of the multidisciplinary Enforcement Directorate (ED). It carries out the enforcement of numerous laws.

  • Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002
  • Foreign Exchange Management Act1999
  • Foreign Exchange Regulation Act 1973
  • Fugitive Economic Offenders Act 2018
  • Sponsoring Organizations under the 1974 Foreign Exchange Conservation and Smuggling Activity Prevention Act

Structure of Enforcement Directorate


The Director of Enforcement is in charge of the ED’s New Delhi headquarters. The five regional offices, which are situated in Mumbai, Chennai, Chandigarh, Kolkata, and Delhi, are under the supervision of Special Directors of Enforcement. The Directorate has 10 Zonal offices, each of which is headed by a Deputy Director, in addition to 11 sub-zonal Offices, each of which is managed by an Assistant Director.


Officers may be recruited directly from other investigative agencies or indirectly. It is made up of representatives from the police, excise, customs, and income tax departments of the Indian Revenue Services (IRS), the Indian Police Services (IPS), and the Indian Administrative Services (IAS).


The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate directors’ tenure can be extended from two to a maximum of five years thanks to two orders that the President of India issued in November 2021. Both the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, 1946 (for ED) and the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) Act, 2003 (for CV Commissioners) have been amended to give the government the power to keep the two chiefs in their positions after their initial two-year terms have ended for an additional year. The chiefs of the CBI currently serve fixed terms of two years, however, they are now qualified for three yearly extensions. However, no more extensions will be granted following a total of five years, including the duration stipulated in the first appointment.

Enforcement Directorate Functions

It assists in looking into potential FEMA rule and regulation infractions. The designated ED officials decide on FEMA violations. It is possible to be fined up to three times the amount in question. Investigating infringements of the laws and guidelines of the PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002). Those found guilty of violating the FEMA may have their assets seized by the ED. “Attaining the assets” refers to an order made under Chapter III of the Money Laundering Act that forbids the transfer, conversion, sale, or transportation of property.” Cases involving fugitives from India are handled following the 2018 Fugitive Economic Offenders Act. Criminals choose to stay outside the country and its legal system for their own safety. This law maintains the integrity of the country’s legal system by preventing Economic Offenders from evading the law. Ruling on show-cause notifications issued under the FERA (Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1973), which was repealed. By the 1974 COFEPOSA (Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act), it assists in organizing preventative detention cases for FEMA infractions. It also assists other countries in circumstances involving money laundering and the seizure of assets under the PMLA.

Enforcement Directorate Power

The Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) gives the ED the authority to detain those who are accused of committing economic crimes. The ED has the authority to conduct searches and seizures of assets and real estate that have been obtained unlawfully. Individuals and organizations whose bank accounts are suspected of being used for money laundering or other economic crimes may have their accounts frozen by the Enforcement Directorate. Properties and assets that were acquired illegally may be seized by the ED. Generally speaking, the Enforcement Directorate agency is essential to upholding law and order in India’s financial system and safeguarding the rights of the populace.

Enforcement Directorate Jurisdiction

Either FEMA or PMLA provide coverage for all of India. Therefore, any person to whom this Act applies may be subject to action by the ED. Cases involving FEMA might be heard in civil court, but those involving PMLA would be heard in criminal court. The agency has authority over anyone who commits a crime, whether they are a person or a business. All public personnel who participate in a money laundering offence fall under the authority of the agency. ED is unable to make decisions on his own. One must first submit a complaint with any other agency or the police before ED looks into the situation and identifies the culprit. The ED will investigate the matter, seize any alleged offender’s property, make an arrest, and start legal proceedings for breaking the PMLA and FEMA acts. The matter will be resolved by adjudication by a court under the PMLA.

Enforcement Directorate Special Court

In cooperation with the Chief Justice of the High Court, the Central Government appoints one or more Sessions Courts as Special Courts to hear cases involving crimes punishable under Section 4 of the PMLA. The Central Government shall by notification establish an Appellate Tribunal to hear appeals from decisions of the Adjudicating Authority and the authorities under this Act. Within sixty days on the day the judgement or order was notified to him, anyone who feels wronged by an Appellate Tribunal decision or order may file an appeal with the High Court. With the proviso that, if it decides that the appellant was prevented from doing so for a valid reason, the High Court may grant an extension of time to submit the appeal of no more than sixty days. The Special Court is also known as PMLA Court.

Enforcement Directorate Criticism

The Supreme Court (SC) is looking into claims that the government and the Enforcement Directorate frequently violated the PMLA. The main accusations are: Even “common” crimes are investigated by the PMLA, and real victims’ assets have been taken. In particular, as it relates to the trafficking of illegal substances, the PMLA was a comprehensive penal code created to address the possibility of money laundering. The list of crimes currently covered by the Act’s schedule is extraordinarily broad and, in some cases, has nothing to do with organized crime or drugs.

Enforcement Directorate UPSC

The Government of India’s Enforcement Directorate (ED), a law enforcement organization, is in charge of upholding economic laws and preventing economic crime. This subject must be understood by students studying for the UPSC Civil Service Exam or any other Government Exam. Students can read all the details related to UPSC by visiting the official website of StudyIQ UPSC Online Coaching.

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Enforcement Directorate FAQs

What is the role of ED in India?

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is a law enforcement agency of the Government of India that is responsible for enforcing Economic Laws and fighting Economic Crime.

Who controls ED?

The Directorate of Enforcement (ED) is a law enforcement agency and economic intelligence agency responsible for enforcing economic laws and fighting economic crime in India.

Where is the headquarters of the Enforcement Directorate?

The Directorate of Enforcement was established in the year 1956 with its Headquarters at New Delhi.

What is the full form of ED in India?

The full form of ED is the Enforcement Directorate.

Who is current ED in India?

Rahul Navin is the in-charge Director of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in India. He is an IRS officer of the 1993 batch and was appointed after the previous Director, Sanjay Kumar Mishra's tenure ended in September 2023.

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