MHA to deploy CISF personnel at all ED offices amid string of attacks | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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MHA to deploy CISF personnel at all ED offices amid string of attacks

ByNeeraj Chauhan, New Delhi
Apr 29, 2024 02:38 AM IST

A team of ED’s Kolkata unit came under attack from a mob on January 5 this year, in which three officers were injured

The ministry of home affairs (MHA) is deploying the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) at all the offices of the Enforcement Directorate amid instances of attacks on the federal agency’s teams and obstruction in its searches or investigations , people familiar with the matter said.

The agency currently operates from 21 zonal and 18 sub-zonal offices across 40 cities (Hindustan Times)
The agency currently operates from 21 zonal and 18 sub-zonal offices across 40 cities (Hindustan Times)

The ministry has already given a go-ahead for the central force’s deployment at ED’s offices in Kolkata, Ranchi, Raipur, Jaipur, Jalandhar, Kochi and Mumbai at a “no-cost basis” even as it figures out ways to manage the cost of deployment in other offices, the people added, asking not to be named.

CISF is the only central paramilitary force which is usually deployed at an establishment on “cost-reimbursement basis”. “A proposal was received from the ED to provide CISF cover to all its offices. For now, the competent authority has given in-principle approval for deploying CISF at ED offices in Maharashtra, West Bengal, Punjab, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Kerala and Chandigarh on no-cost basis,” said one of the two, a home ministry official. This means that the expenses for CISF’s deployment at ED offices will be borne by the Centre for now.

Based on threat assessment from intelligence agencies and ED’s inputs, a regular deployment plan will be drawn up by CISF , the home ministry official added.

The discussions are continuing regarding CISF cover at ED offices in other states as well.

The agency currently operates from 21 zonal and 18 sub-zonal offices across 40 cities in five regions , west, east, central, south and north,, allowing it to have pan-India presence. Its headquarters at Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Road in Delhi already has CISF cover.

A team of ED’s Kolkata unit came under attack from a mob on January 5 this year, in which three officers were injured.

Earlier, on December 1-2 last year, Tamil Nadu’s Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) arrested an ED officer Ankit Tiwari for extortion and then raided the agency’s sub-zonal office in Madurai. The agency filed a complaint with the state police chief alleging that sensitive documents from its office were stolen.

Over the past decade, ED has registered an average of 500 cases every year under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), involving accused persons from political parties and influential private citizens according to officials and the agency has been criticized for targeting political opponents of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in opposition ruled states. However, ED officials argue that out of over 5,100 PMLA cases registered in last 10 years, only about 2-3% are related to politicians. The agency has attached properties worth 1.21 lakh crore and arrested 755 people in last 10 years, compared 5,086 crore worth attachments and 29 arrests during the UPA’s rule.

“The ED conveyed to the government that the nature of cases being probed by it are of sensitive nature and any attack on its men, loss of evidence including statements of witnesses and accused, digital devices not only affect its probes but also impacts the morale of the investigators,” said the second person cited above.

Asked for a timeline for complete CISF deployment at its offices, a senior ED officer said: “ CISF will conduct a survey to ascertain the requirement of personnel at each office. The entire exercise may take a few months”.

Currently, ED and even the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) teams are accompanied during raids by troops from central paramilitary forces such as the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and CISF in several states including West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir etc. The local police also accompanies ED teams in several states and Union territories where the BJP is in power.

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