What is the NIA?
- The National Investigation Agency (NIA) was constituted under the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act, 2008.
- 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.
- 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.
- Headquartered in Delhi, the NIA has its branches in many cities of India.
When did the NIA come into being?
- In the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack in November 2008, GoI decided to establish the NIA.
- The agency came into existence on December 31, 2008, and started its functioning in 2009.
- Government stated that 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.
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 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 and 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 to the Central government for NIA investigation.
- 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
- Where the Central government finds that a scheduled offence has been committed at any place outside India to which this Act extends, it can also direct the NIA to register the case and take up investigation.
Source: The Hindu