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The functioning of the National Investigation Agency

  • Published
    4th Jul, 2022
Context

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has taken over the probe into the killing of tailor in Rajasthan's Udaipur over a social media post.

About

What is the National Investigation Agency (NIA)?

  • 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.
  • It came into existence with the enactment of the National Investigation Agency Act 2008 by the Parliament of India on 31 December 2008.
  • It acts as the Central Counter Terrorism Law Enforcement Agency.
    • NIA was created after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks as need for a central agency to combat terrorism was realised.
  • The Agency has been empowered to conduct investigation and prosecution of offences under the Acts specified in the Schedule of the NIA Act.
  • Officers of the NIA who are drawn from the Indian Revenue Service, Indian Police Service, state police, Income Tax as well as officers from the Central Armed Police Forces, have all powers, privileges and liabilities which the police officers have in connection with investigation of any offense.
  • 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. The agency has the power to search, seize, arrest and prosecute those involved in such offences.

What are the scheduled offences?

The list includes:

  • 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
  • Relevant offences under the Indian Penal Code, Arms Act and the 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.
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