NEW DELHI: Senior IPS officer Karnal Singh today took over as the chief of Enforcement Directorate (ED) in an additional capacity after the government cut short the tenure of incumbent Rajan S Katoch.
The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had yesterday issued orders appointing Singh, a Special Director-rank officer of the agency here, as its Director for three months.
This is the first time that an Indian Police Service officer has been appointed as the chief of the central agency. ED has always been led by an IAS officer, barring a few instances when IRS officers headed the agency, which was created in 1956.
Singh, an expert in counter-terror and cyber analysis operations, has been a chief of the Special Cell during his earlier tenure with Delhi Police, where he is credited with cracking important cases related to terrorism.
The order had last night said that "the ACC has approved assigning additional charge of the post of Enforcement Director to Karnal Singh, a 1984-batch IPS officer of Union Territory cadre, for a period of three months or till appointment of a regular incumbent".
The order came on the heels of BJP leader Subramanian Swamy recently writing to Modi seeking the appointment of a full-time director for the central agency. Swamy had complained that ED had not properly investigated the National Herald case in which he had accused Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul of money laundering.
Katoch, who is also the heavy industries secretary, had been handling the top ED charge in an additional capacity since August, 2014.
The fresh government order came about two weeks after the Centre cleared the name of Katoch, a 1979-batch IAS officer of Madhya Pradesh cadre, for a third extension as Director for three more months till October, 2015.
The agency is mandated to enforce two laws in the country -- Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) -- to check black money and hawala trade.