The Enforcement
(ED) is one of the foremost law enforcement agencies in India.
Formed in 1956, the ED, then named the Enforcement Unit, was under the
Department of Economic Affairs. The body now functions under the Indian
government’s Ministry of Finance. Its chief duty is to fight economic crimes
like money laundering and enforce laws pertaining to the same.

The two major laws which
the ED has to enforce are the Foreign Exchange Management Act 1999 (FEMA) and
the Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002 (PMLA). The agency’s official
website states its objective as “ED has been given the responsibility to
enforce the provisions of the PMLA by conducting investigation to trace the
assets derived from proceeds of crime, to provisionally attach the property and
to ensure prosecution of the offenders and confiscation of the property by the
Special court.”

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The agency’s
headquarters are in New Delhi, while it has zonal offices in all major Indian
cities like Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, Panaji,
Guwahati, Kolkata, and others.

The Supreme Court of India
has today upheld the ED’s power of arrest, search and seizure, and attachment,
as stated in the PMLA, when it comes to money laundering cases, saying that
such arrests are not arbitrary. 

Also Read| Supreme Court backs Enforcement Directorate powers under PMLA

The first to make a
move against businessman Nirav Modi, the ED handles high-profile cases on a
regular basis. It had also questioned Robert Vadra, the husband of Congress
leader Priyanka Gandhi, in connection to some properties he had bought. In
2019, the agency had also filed a chargesheet again Bhupinder Singh Hooda, the former
chief minister of Haryana.  Top political
leaders like P. Chidambaram, Akhilesh Yadav, and D.K. Shivkumar have also been
subject to ED probes.

Notably, on Saturday,
July 23, the ED arrested former Minister-in-Charge of Higher Education and
School Education Department of the government of West Bengal, Partha Chatterjee,
in connection to a teacher recruitment scam. The agency reported that cash
amounting to Rs 21 crore was seized from the house of one of Chatterjee’s close