NIA: Securing India
TOPIC: General Studies 3:
- Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism.
- Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.
In News: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) conducted raids at 17 places across Delhi and Uttar Pradesh and arrested 10 people from, suspected to be the part of a module ‘Harkat-ul-Harb-e-Islam’ of the terror syndicate IS.
- As per the statements issued by the National Investigating Agency, the group which is believed to be a self-appointed and self-financed was aiming to carry out multiple blasts across the country. On the target of the group were several vital installations, important personalities and also the politicians, claimed the NIA in its statement to the press after the detailed operation, which had taken months of surveillance and studying the movements and activities of the suspects.
- Over 25 kg of explosives, local firearms, live ammunition, 112 alarm clocks and 134 SIM cards were recovered in the raids, says the NIA.
National Investigation Agency (NIA):
A central agency established by the Indian Government to combat terror in India which 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.
Objectives of NIA:
- Aims to be a thoroughly professional investigative agency matching the best international standards.
- 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.
- Creating deterrence for existing and potential terrorist groups/individuals
- Develop as a storehouse of all terrorist related information
How NIA came into existence?
The Agency came into existence with the enactment of the National Investigation Agency Act 2008 by the Parliament of India on 31 December 2008 – after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks as need for a central agency to combat terrorism was realised, in response to two realities.
- One, that terrorism (attacks have increased in their scale, intensity, geographical spread and trans-national links) is agnostic to borders and jurisdictions, and therefore an agency with a nationwide footprint was needed to replicate strategies and successes at one location elsewhere.
- Two, the CBI had attained disreputability; and a national agency perceived to be above political pressures and other motives, and deserving of public trust, was required.
- Three, the state police with its restricted territorial jurisdiction and limited resources and expertise are inadequate to deal with terrorist offences.
Jurisdiction of NIA:
The Agency has been empowered to conduct investigation and prosecution of offences 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 offences 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, 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
As per the Bill, NIA has concurrent jurisdiction which empowers the Central Agency 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, attacks on nuclear installations. The amendments to the NIA Act has brought the offences relating to the smuggling in High-Quality Counterfeit Indian Currency under the definition of a terrorist Act aimed at damaging the monetary stability of the country and therefore can be investigated by the NIA.
The establishment of NIA is no doubt a positive step in fighting terrorism-related crimes, but it is unlikely to be a panacea to prevent terrorist attacks. For, it will be an agency that investigates and prosecutes only after terrorist attacks take place. Though the NIA no doubt would contribute to a better understanding of how the attacks were planned and carried out, the linkages between terrorist cells within the country as well as outside, the modus operandi of terrorist cells and groups, etc., it is unlikely to prevent terrorist attacks.
What is needed currently is greater co-ordination between various agencies engaged in intelligence collection, collation and analysis. This can be achieved either through a more effective functioning of the Joint Intelligence Council (JIC) or alternatively by reorganising the entire Indian intelligence set up along the lines that the United States has done in the wake of the September 11 terror attacks.
Connecting the Dots:
- Investigative agencies, whose integrity is in doubt, will have no other effect but to undermine public confidence and weaken the state. Discuss.
- Discuss the mandate of the National Investigation Agency (NIA). What are the impediments in its effective functioning? How can those be addressed? Discuss.
- India has repeatedly given a call at international fora for united efforts to combat terrorism. However, first we need to put our internal security in order. Comment.
- New terror threats have emerged as a result of use of technology. In light of this statement examine the challenges that have emerged as a result of “enabled terror”. Also highlight the steps that should be taken to handle the new terror threats.