The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is a central counter-terrorism agency functioning under the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. This article covers quick facts on NIA, regional offices, jurisdiction and NIA Amendment Act 2019.
Latest context-related to National Investigation Agency –
- National Investigation Agency (NIA) organized a two-day Brazil, Russia, India, China & South Africa (BRICS) Seminar (through virtual mode) on “Misuse of Internet for Terrorist Purposes and Role of Digital Forensics in Terrorist Investigations” on 13th and 14th April 2021. It was inaugurated by Union Home Secretary Shri Ajay Kumar Bhalla.
- 40 experts from the five-member countries deliberated upon technical sessions including ‘Exploitation of Social Media as an Arsenal ’, ‘Dark web and Anonymizers’, ‘Emerging Technologies and Artificial Intelligence’, ‘Cryptocurrency and Virtual Assets: Vulnerability of Privacy and Online Stealth’, Equipping Law Enforcement Agencies: CT Investigations and Digital Forensics to deal with such challenges.
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National Investigation Agency (NIA) – 9 Quick Facts
The NIA is the central counter-terrorism law enforcement agency in the country. It was created in 2008 after the Mumbai terror attack the same year.
- The NIA can investigate terror cases across the country without having to get permission from the states.
- The agency investigates terror offences, waging war against the country, offences on nuclear facilities, etc.
- It came into force after the Parliament passed the National Investigation Agency Act 2008.
- The agency’s aim is to become a professional investigating agency matching global standards.
- It also aims at being a deterrent for existing and potential terrorists, apart from being a storehouse of information on terrorism.
- The NIA functions under the Ministry of Home Affairs.
- The agency is headquartered in New Delhi and has 8 regional offices across India.
- It is headed by a Director-General (an IPS officer).
- The NIA maintains the ‘NIA Most Wanted List’.
National Investigation Agency (NIA) – Regional Offices
- NIA Hyderabad
- NIA Guwahati
- NIA Kochi
- NIA Lucknow
- NIA Mumbai
- NIA Kolkata
- NIA Raipur
- NIA Jammu
The stated missions of the NIA are as follows:
- Investigate professionally the scheduled offences utilising the latest scientific methods.
- Facilitating a speedy and effective trial.
- Becoming a result-oriented and professional organisation, that upholds the Indian Constitution and the law of the land, and that gives utmost importance to human rights and dignity.
- Creating a professional workforce through the means of regular training and best practices exposure.
- Showing scientific temper and a spirit of progress while discharging their duties.
- Ushering in the latest technology and modern methods in the activities of the NIA.
- Having cordial relations with the central and state governments, and other law enforcement agencies of the country.
- Helping the states and other agencies with the investigation of terror-related cases.
- Create and share with states and other agencies a database of all information to terrorists.
- Analysing terrorism-related laws in India and periodically reviewing them and suggesting any required changes.
- Win the citizens’ confidence by means of fearless and selfless efforts.
National Investigation Agency – Jurisdiction
The agency has been empowered with all the powers and privileges to conduct investigations under the various acts specified in the Schedule book of NIA act. State government authorities can request an investigation by NIA upon approval of Central government within the limits of law specified under the NIA Act.
The central government can handover 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.
NIA (Amendment) Act 2019
The NIA (Amendment) Act 2019 was passed by the Parliament and received the presidential assent in July 2019. This Act has made a few major changes to the original NIA Act of 2008. The changes are discussed below:
- The amendment allows the agency to investigate the following new offences as well:
- Human trafficking
- Counterfeit currency or bank notes related offences
- Sale or manufacture of prohibited arms
- Offences under the Explosive Substances Act, 1908
- Cyber terrorism
- The amendment also expands the jurisdiction of the NIA. Now, it has the authority to investigate offences that are committed outside Indian territory subject to international treaties and domestic laws of other nations.
- The amendment also allows the central government to constitute Special Courts to conduct trials of scheduled offences.
- Accordingly, the government will have the power to designate Sessions Courts as Special Courts, after consulting with the Chief Justice of the High Court (under which the Sessions Court functions).
- The Act also authorises the state governments to designate Special Courts.
- The Government can appoint more than Special Court in an area.
- Currently, there are 38 Special NIA Courts across the states and 7 across the UTs.
- The Special Courts’ judges are appointed by the GOI in consultation with the High Court Chief Justices of the area.
- The trials of the NIA Special Courts have precedence over the trial of the accused in any other case in any other court.
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