The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is the counter-terrorist task force of India. Read here to know more about the agency.
National Investigation Agency (NIA) is functioning as the Central Counter Terrorism Law Enforcement Agency in India.
It functions under the aegis of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The agency is empowered to deal with the investigation of terror-related crimes across states under written proclamation from the Ministry of Home Affairs without special permission from the states.
NIA is headquartered in New Delhi.
- It has branches in Hyderabad, Guwahati, Kochi, Lucknow, Mumbai, Kolkata, Raipur, Jammu, Chandigarh, Ranchi, Chennai, and Imphal.
NIA also maintains a most wanted list.
History of the National Investigation Agency
India has been the victim of large-scale terrorism sponsored from across the borders for some time.
- There have been innumerable incidents of terrorist attacks, in the militancy and insurgency-affected areas and areas affected by Left Wing Extremism.
- Incidents of terrorist attacks and bomb blasts, etc., in various parts of the hinterland and major cities, etc.
A large number of such incidents are found to have complex inter-State and international linkages, and possible connection with other activities like the smuggling of arms and drugs, pushing in and circulation of fake Indian currency, infiltration from across the borders, etc.
The 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks in 2008 revealed the failure of intelligence and the inefficiency of the existing agencies.
Keeping all these in view, it was felt that there was a need for setting up of an Agency at the Central level for investigation of offences related to terrorism and certain other Acts, which have national ramifications.
National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act was enacted in 2008 and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) was established.
Functions of NIA
It is a central agency to investigate and prosecutes offenses:
- Affecting the sovereignty, security, and integrity of India, security of State, and friendly relations with foreign States.
- Against atomic and nuclear facilities.
- Smuggling in High-Quality Counterfeit Indian Currency.
It implements international treaties, agreements, conventions, and resolutions of the United Nations, its agencies, and other international organizations.
Missions of NIA:
- In-depth professional investigation of scheduled offenses using the latest scientific methods of investigation.
- Ensuring effective and speedy trial.
- Developing into a thoroughly professional, result oriented organization, upholding the constitution of India and Laws of the Land giving prime importance to the protection of Human Rights and dignity of the individual.
- Displaying scientific temper and progressive spirit while discharging the duties assigned.
- Inducting modern methods and the latest technology in every sphere of activities of the agency.
- Maintaining professional and cordial relations with the governments of States and Union Territories and other law enforcement agencies in compliance with the legal provisions of the NIA Act.
- Assist all States and other investigating agencies in the investigation of terrorist cases.
- Build a database on all terrorist-related information and share the database available with the States and other agencies.
- Study and analyse laws relating to terrorism in other countries and regularly evaluate the adequacy of existing laws in India and propose changes as and when necessary.
Jurisdiction of National Investigation Agency
The agency has been empowered with all the powers and privileges to conduct investigations under the various acts specified in the Schedule book of the NIA act.
State government authorities can request an investigation by NIA upon approval of the Central government within the limits of law specified under the NIA Act.
The central government can hand over cases for investigation to NIA anywhere in India and the officials involved in the handling of these cases are from the IPS and IRS cadre.
The agency needs sanction from the central government for the prosecution of the accused under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA) and certain other scheduled offenses.
The NIA (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was passed by Parliament amending the original Act of 2008.
The Bill seeks to allow the NIA to investigate the following additional offences:
- Human trafficking
- Offenses related to counterfeit currency or banknotes
- Manufacture or sale of prohibited arms
- Cyber-terrorism, and
- Offenses under the Explosive Substances Act, 1908
The amendment also expands the jurisdiction of NIA:
- The officers of the NIA have the same powers as other police officers in relation to the investigation of such offenses, across India.
- The officers of the NIA will have the power to investigate scheduled offenses committed outside India, subject to international treaties and domestic laws of other countries.
- The central government may direct the NIA to investigate such cases if the offense has been committed in India.
- The Special Court in New Delhi will have jurisdiction over these cases.
Special NIA courts
Various Special Courts have been notified by the Central Government of India for the trial of the cases registered at various police stations of the National Investigation Agency under Sections 11 and 22 of the NIA Act 2008.
- Any question as to the jurisdiction of these courts is decided by the Central Government.
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.
The NIA Special Courts are empowered with all powers of the court of sessions under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 for the trial of any offense.