National Investigation Agency
|National Investigation Agency|
|Logo of the National Investigation Agency.|
|Flag of the National Investigation Agency.|
|Legal personality||Governmental: Government agency|
National Investigation Agency (NIA) is a federal agency established by the Indian Government to combat terror in India. It acts as the Central Counter Terrorism Law Enforcement Agency. The agency is empowered to deal with terror related crimes across states without special permission from the states. The Agency came into existence with the enactment of the National Investigation Agency Act 2008 by the Parliament of India on 31 December 2008.
NIA was created after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks as need for a central agency to combat terrorism was realised. The founding Director-General of NIA was Radha Vinod Raju, and he served till 31 January 2010. He was succeeded by Sharad Chandra Sinha till March 2013 when he was appointed the member of the National Human Rights Commission of India. In July 2013, Sharad Kumar was appointed as the Chief of National Investigation Agency succeeded by N R Wasan.
A Bill for the formation of the National Investigation Agency was passed by Parliament in December 2008. As per the Bill, NIA has concurrent jurisdiction which empowers the Centre to probe terror attacks in any part of the country, covering offences, including challenge to the country's sovereignty and integrity, bomb blasts, hijacking of aircraft and ships, and attacks on nuclear installations.
The ground staff of the agency in the national capital could be drawn from existing central staff and security organisations while in the states, permanent deputation from the state police could be taken. Other than offenses of terrorism, it also deals with counterfeit currency, human trafficking, narcotics or drugs, organised crime (extortion mobs and gangs), plane hijacking and violations of atomic energy act and weapons of mass destruction act.
The National Investigative Agency Bill and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill on Tuesday, 30 Dec, 2008, became a law as President Pratibha Patil gave her assent to the legislation which were passed in the last session of Parliament.
Agency aims to be a thoroughly professional investigative agency matching the best international standards. It aims to set the standards of excellence in counter terrorism and other national security related investigations at the national level by developing into a highly trained, partnership oriented workforce. It also aims at creating deterrence for existing and potential terrorist groups/individuals. It aims to develop as a storehouse of all terrorist related information.
The Agency has been empowered to conduct investigation and prosecution of offenses under the Acts specified in the Schedule of the NIA Act. A State Government may request the Central Government to hand over the investigation of a case to the NIA, provided the case has been registered for the offenses as contained in the schedule to the NIA Act. Central Government can also order NIA to take over investigation of any scheduled offense anywhere in the India. Officers of the NIA who are drawn from the Indian Revenue Service and the Indian Police Service have all powers, privileges and liabilities which the police officers have in connection with investigation of any offense.
Special NIA Courts
Various Special Courts have been notified by the Central Government of India for trial of the cases registered at various police stations of NIA under Section 11 and 22 of the NIA Act 2008. Any question as to the jurisdiction of these courts is decided by the Central Government. These are presided over by a judge appointed by the Central Government on the recommendation of the Chief Justice of the High Court with jurisdiction in that region. Supreme Court of India has also been empowered to transfer the cases from one special court to any other special court within or outside the state if the same is in the interest of justice in light of the prevailing circumstances in any particular state. They are empowered with all powers of the court of sessions under Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 for trial of any offense.
Trial by this courts are held on day-to-day basis on all working days and have precedence over the trial of any other case against the accused in any other court (not being a Special Court) and have to be concluded in preference to the trial of such other case. An appeal from any judgment, sentence or order, not being an interlocutory order, of a Special Court lies to the High Court both on facts and on law. Such an appeal is heard by a bench of two Judges of the High Court. At present there are 38 Special NIA Courts. State Governments have also been empowered to appoint one or more such special courts in their states.
Recent Success of NIA
In year 2012, NIA with the assistance of Interpol and Saudi Intelligence agencies has successfully arrested terrorists namely: Abu Jundal alias Abu Hamza, (Pakistani national), Fasih Mohammad and Yaseen Bhatkal (Indian Mujahideen citizen).
It has identified two Naxalite commanders in Bastar who were part of the ambush that killed almost the entire Congress' Chhattisgarh top brass.