NEW DELHI: Severe staff crunch is dragging down investigations at the Enforcement Directorate, which is saddled with over two dozen high-profile cases, amidst the pressure for speedy conclusion of these probes.
“There is serious staff crunch, considering the number of cases the agency is handling. The number of cases has almost doubled in last three years and this is certainly taking its toll on the pace of probes. We need to increase manpower by at least 25 per cent,” an ED official told TNIE.
ED is investigating high-profile cases including the Chanda Kochhar case, IL&FS fraud, Vadra land deal, PNB fraud and the Augusta Westland case. ED has a sanctioned strength of 2,065, but officials claim that 35 per cent of the top-level positions are vacant.
The agency has already requested the Finance Ministry to fill the vacant positions and to increase its strength. However, ED is not the only agency that is grappling with staff crunch. Even the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) has made similar complaints to the government and despite repeated requests, a large chunk of sanctioned posts are vacant.
Another elite agency, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), which is key in detecting terror financing, money laundering and detection of counterfeit currency in country’s economic channels, has similar challenges. FIU is currently relying on contract workers in the absence of specialised staff.