1. The Directorate of Enforcement or the ED is a multi-disciplinary organization mandated with investigation of economic crimes and violations of foreign exchange laws. The origin of this Directorate goes back to 1st May, 1956, when an ‘Enforcement Unit’ was formed in the Department of Economic Affairs for handling Exchange Control Laws violations under Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1947 (FERA ’47). This Unit with Delhi as Headquarters was headed by a Legal Service Officer, as Director of Enforcement, assisted by an Officer drawn on deputation from Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and 03 Inspectors of Special Police Establishment. There were 02 branches – at Bombay and Calcutta.
2. In the year 1957, this Unit was renamed as ‘Enforcement Directorate’, and another branch was opened at Madras. In 1960, the administrative control of the Directorate was transferred from the Department of Economic Affairs to the Department of Revenue. With the passage of time, FERA’ 47 was repealed and replaced by FERA, 1973. For a short period of 04 years (1973 – 1977), the Directorate remained under the administrative jurisdiction of the Department of Personnel & Administrative Reforms. Presently, the Directorate is under the administrative control of Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance, Government of India.
3. With the onset of the process of economic liberalization, FERA, 1973, which was a regulatory law, was repealed and in its place, a new law viz. the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA) came into operation w.e.f. 1st June 2000. Further, in tune with the International Anti Money Laundering regime, the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) was enacted and ED was entrusted with its enforcement w.e.f. 1st July 2005. Recently, with the increase in number of cases relating to economic offenders taking shelter in foreign countries, the Government has passed the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018 (FEOA) and ED is entrusted with its enforcement with effect from 21st April, 2018.