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SC Permits ED Director SK Mishra To Continue As ED Director Till September 15 In 'Larger Public Interest'

The Supreme Court of India has commenced its hearing on the Centre's plea seeking an extension of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) director's tenure.

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In a significant development, the Supreme Court has allowed an extension of Enforcement Directorate (ED) chief Sanjay Kumar Mishra's tenure until September 15, while firmly stating that no further extension will be permitted. The court cited "larger public and national interest" as the reason for the limited reprieve.

During the hearing, the top court raised questions about the Centre's request for an extension, expressing concern over the perception of the entire department's competence, apart from the incumbent chief. The bench questioned whether the portrayal is that there are no capable individuals within the department.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, argued that Mishra's continuity is essential for the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) peer review process, and the rating from this review carries significant weight. While acknowledging that Mishra is "not indispensable," Mehta stressed that his presence is crucial for the successful completion of the peer review exercise.

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Representing the ED, Additional Solicitor General S V Raju highlighted the necessity of Mishra's continuation, stating that some neighboring countries intend to put India on FATF's 'grey list,' making the ED chief's presence crucial to counter such efforts.

The top court's decision comes after it previously deemed two successive one-year extensions granted to Mishra as "illegal" and curtailed his extended tenure to July 31 from November, adhering to the court's earlier mandate that the IRS officer should not be given any further term.

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