• The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is a law enforcement agency and economic intelligence agency responsible for enforcing economic laws and fighting economic crime in India.
  • It is part of the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance.
  • It was formed with the purpose of handling Exchange Control Law violations under the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act,1947. 
  • Initially established under the Department of Economic Affairs in 1956 as an ‘Enforcement Unit’, it was later shifted to the Department of Revenue for administration in 1960.
  • It was renamed as the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in 1957.
  • Now, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is administered by the Department of Revenue under the Ministry of Finance.
  • The ED has its headquarters in New Delhi and has many regional offices all over the country.
  • It is headed by the Director of Enforcement.
  • It is composed of officers from the Indian Revenue Service, Indian Police Service, and the Indian Administrative Service as well as promoted officers from its own cadre.
  • The total strength of the department is less than 2000 officers out of which around 70% of officials came from deputation from other organizations while ED has its own cadre, too.


  • The Organization is mandated with the task of enforcing the provisions of two special fiscal laws
    • Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA), and
    • Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA).

Functions of Enforcement Directorate (ED)

  • Investigating violations of Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) laws and provisions. 
    • Designated ED Officials adjudicate FEMA violations.
    • Penalties up to three times the sum involved can be imposed.
  • Investigating offences of Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) laws and provisions. 
    • ED has the power to attach the assets of the culprits found guilty of violation of FEMA. “Attachment of the assets” means prohibition of transfer, conversion, disposition or movement of property by an order issued under Chapter III of the Money Laundering Act.
  • Processing cases of fugitive/s from India under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018.
    • Offenders choose to stay outside the country and its jurisdiction to protect themselves. 
    • This Act allows Economic Offenders from evading the law and preserves the sanctity of the justice system in the country.
  • Adjudicating show-cause notices issued under the repealed FERA (Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1973).
  • Sponsoring cases of Preventive Detention under the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act, 1974 (COFEPOSA) with respect to FEMA violations.
  • Rendering cooperation to foreign countries in matters related to money laundering and restoration of assets under the PMLA provisions.
Special Court
  • For the trial of an offence punishable under section 4 of PMLA, the Central Government (in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court), designates one or more Sessions Court as Special Court(s).
  • The court is also called “PMLA Court”.
  • Any appeal against any order passed by the PMLA court can directly be filed in the High Court for that jurisdiction.
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