From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : National Investigation Agency (NIA)
Mains level : Terrorism and radicalization in India
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has taken over the probe into the terrible beheading of a person in Udaipur by Jihadi radicalists.
What is the NIA?
- Headquartered in Delhi, the NIA has its branches in Hyderabad, Guwahati, Kochi, Lucknow, Mumbai, Kolkata, Raipur, Jammu, Chandigarh, Ranchi, Chennai, Imphal, Bengaluru and Patna.
- It is a central agency mandated to investigate all the offences affecting:
- Sovereignty, security and integrity of India
- Friendly relations with foreign states
- Offences under the statutory laws enacted to implement international treaties, agreements, conventions and resolutions of the United Nations, its agencies and other international organisations
- The offense include terror acts and their possible links with crimes like smuggling of arms, drugs and fake Indian currency and infiltration from across the borders.
- The agency has the power to search, seize, arrest and prosecute those involved in such offences.
When did the NIA come into being?
- In the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack in November 2008, which shocked the entire world, the then United Progressive Alliance government decided to establish the NIA.
- In December 2008, former Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram introduced the National Investigation Agency Bill.
- The agency would deal with only eight laws mentioned in the schedule and that a balance had been struck between the right of the State and duties of the Central government to investigate the more important cases.
- The agency came into existence on December 31, 2008, and started its functioning in 2009.
- Till date, the NIA has registered 447 cases.
What are the scheduled offences?
The list includes the
- Explosive Substances Act,
- Atomic Energy Act,
- Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act,
- Anti-Hijacking Act,
- Suppression of Unlawful Acts against Safety of Civil Aviation Act,
- SAARC Convention (Suppression of Terrorism) Act,
- Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Act,
- Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Act and
- Relevant offences under the Indian Penal Code, Arms Act and
- Information Technology Act
- In September 2020, the Centre empowered the NIA to also probe offences under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act that are connected to terror cases.
How wide is NIA’s jurisdiction?
- The law under which the agency operates extends to the whole of India.
- It also applies to:
- Indian citizens outside the country;
- Persons in the service of the government wherever they are posted;
- Persons on ships and aircraft registered in India wherever they may be;
- 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?
- As provided under Section 6 of the Act, 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.
- After assessing the details made available, the Centre can then direct the agency to take over the case.
- State governments are required to extend all assistance to the NIA.
- Even when the Central government is of the opinion that a scheduled offence has been committed which is required to be investigated under the Act, it may, suo motu, direct the agency to take up/over the probe.