NATIONAL INVESTIGATION AGENCY

Keeping in view the zero tolerance policy against terrorism, the Central Government regularly reviews administrative and legal requirements of National Investigation Agency (NIA).

What is the NIA?

  • The agency came into existence in 2008 in the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.
  • It is a central agency mandated to investigate all the offences affecting:
  • the sovereignty, security and integrity of India,
  • friendly relations with foreign states, and
  • the offences under the statutory laws enacted to implement international treaties, agreements, conventions and resolutions of the United Nations, its agencies and other international organisations.
  • These include terror acts and their possible links with crimes like smuggling of arms, drugs and fake Indian currency and infiltration from across the borders.

Power:

  • The agency has the power to search, seize, arrest and prosecute those involved in such offences.
  • Headquarters: Delhi.

What are the scheduled offences?

The list includes:

  1. the Explosive Substances Act,
  2. Atomic Energy Act,
  3. Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act,
  4. Anti-Hijacking Act,
  5. Suppression of Unlawful Acts against Safety of Civil Aviation Act,
  6. SAARC Convention (Suppression of Terrorism) Act,
  7. Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Act,
  8. Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Act and
  9. relevant offences under the Indian Penal Code, Arms Act and the Information Technology Act.

In 2020, the Centre empowered the NIA to also probe offences under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act that are connected to terror cases.

Jurisdiction of NIA:

The law under which the agency operates extends to:

  1. the whole of India
  2. to Indian citizens outside the country;
  3. persons in the service of the government wherever they are posted;
  4. persons on ships and aircraft registered in India wherever they may be;
  5. persons who commit a scheduled offence beyond India against the Indian citizen or affecting the interest of India.

How does the NIA take up a probe?

  • The State governments can refer the cases pertaining to the scheduled offences registered at any police station to the Central government (Union Home Ministry) for NIA investigation.
  • The Centre can then direct the agency to take over the case.
  • State governments are required to extend all assistance to the NIA.
  • Even the Central government may, suo motu, direct the agency to take up/over the probe.
  • Where the Central government finds that a scheduled offence has been committed at any place outside India to which this Act extends, it can also direct the NIA to register the case and take up investigation.
  • While investigating any scheduled offence, the agency can also investigate any other offence which the accused is alleged to have committed if the offence is connected to the scheduled offence.

SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB

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