National Investigation Agency (NIA) is a central agency established by the Indian Government to combat terror in India. It 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. The Agency came into existence with the enactment of the National Investigation Agency Act 2008 by the Parliament of India on 31 December 2008.
NIA was created after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks as need for a central agency to combat terrorism was realised. The conviction rate of this anti-terrorism agency is currently 95 per cent as it has managed to convict 167 accused in the 185 cases registered by it since its inception.
The founding Director-General of NIA was Radha Vinod Raju, and he served till 31 January 2010. He was succeeded by Sharad Chandra Sinha till March 2013 when he was appointed the member of the National Human Rights Commission of India. In July 2013, Sharad Kumar was appointed as the Chief of National Investigation Agency. In 2017, Y.C.Modi was named as Chief of NIA in September.
NIA Bill :
A Bill for the formation of the National Investigation Agency was passed by Parliament in December 2008. 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 ground staff of the agency in the national capital could be drawn from existing central staff and security organisations while in the states, permanent deputation from the state police could be taken.
The National Investigative Agency Bill and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill on Tuesday, 30 Dec 2008, became a law as President Pratibha Patil gave her assent to the legislation which was passed in the last session of Parliament.
Agency aims to be a thoroughly professional investigative agency matching the best international standards. It aims to 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. It also aims at creating deterrence for existing and potential terrorist groups/individuals. It aims to develop as a storehouse of all terrorist related information.
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.
Organisational structure :
The NIA is headed by a Director, an IPS (Indian Police Service) officer with a rank of Director General of Police . The NIA Director has a two-year term. Other ranks in the NIA are staffed by the Central Armed Police Forces (BSF, CRPF, NSG,etc), IRS (Indian Revenue Service – Customs & Indirect Taxes) officer and the Indian Police Service Cadre Officers.
Hierarchy of NIA :
–> Additional Director,
–> Inspector General of Police,
–> Deputy Inspector General of Police,
–> Senior Superintendent of Police,
–> Superintendent of Police,
–> Additional Superintendent of Police,
–> Deputy Superintendent of Police,
–> Sub-Inspector (Also recruited directed through SSC Exam),
–> Assistant Sub-Inspector,
–> Head constable,
All the Officers are recruited deputation from State Police, Central Armed Police Department and Customs & Indirect Taxes Department (CBIC). However the Officers on the post of Sub Inspector are also recruited directed through SSC Exam. These officers are expected to be promoted till the post of Senior Superintendent of Police / Superintendent of Police in their Entire career.
Special NIA Courts :
Various Special Courts have been notified by the Central Government of India for trial of the cases registered at various police stations of NIA under Section 11 and 22 of the NIA Act 2008. Any question as to the jurisdiction of these courts is decided by the Central Government. These are presided over by a judge appointed by the Central Government on the recommendation of the Chief Justice of the High Court with jurisdiction in that region. 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 if the same is in the interest of justice in light of the prevailing circumstances in any particular state. The NIA Special Courts are empowered with all powers of the court of sessions under Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 for trial of any offense.
Trial by this courts are held on day-to-day basis on all working days and have precedence over the trial of any other case against the accused in any other court (not being a Special Court) and have to be concluded in preference to the trial of such other case. An appeal from any judgement, sentence or order, not being an interlocutory order, of a Special Court lies to the High Court both on facts and on law. Such an appeal can be heard by a division bench of two Judges of the High Court. At present there are 38 Special NIA Courts. State Governments have also been empowered to appoint one or more such special courts in their states.
Recent Success of NIA :
In year 2012, NIA with the assistance of Interpol and Saudi Intelligence agencies has successfully arrested terrorists namely: Abu Jundal alias Abu Hamza, (Pakistani national), Fasih Mohammad and Yaseen Bhatkal (Indian Mujahideen).
In the year 2013, NIA was successful in arresting two senior members of Indian Mujahideen, namely Ahmed Siddibappa Zaraar / Yasin Bhatkal and Asadullah Akhtar / Haddi, from Indo Nepal border in Bihar on 29 August 2013. These two were instrumental in the commission of a number of terrorist attacks across the country for the past several years, under the banner of Indian Mujahideen, a proscribed terrorist organisation.
It has identified two Naxalite commanders in Bastar who were part of the ambush that killed almost the entire Congress’ Chhattisgarh top brass.
In 2014 NIA investigators began probing the conspiracy of Jamaat-Ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) a proscribed terrorist organisation in Bangladesh, which was conspiring to spread its terror network in Indian states of West Bengal, Assam and Jharkhand. The terrorist conspiracy in India aimed at recruitment, radicalisation and training of vulnerable Indian youths in violent Jihadist ideology and terrorist acts, collection of funds for the organisational activities in India and training them in fabrication and use of Improvised explosive devices (IED’s) and firearms for terrorist acts. NIA has arrested 20 persons in the case so far and 27 accused have been charged so far for their role in the conspiracy, including 5 Bangladeshi nationals. NIA is actively seeking and receiving cooperation from the Bangladeshi Government and law enforcement agencies in the ongoing investigations.
NIA has been active in the war against terror in Jammu and Kashmir. On January 18, 2018, NIA filed a chargesheet against 12 people including Lashkar-e-Taiba terror group chief Hafiz Saeed and Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin. This chargesheet was filed after nearly eight months of investigations spanning six states in India during which over 300 witnesses were examined, 950 “incriminating documents” and 600 electronic devices were seized. National Investigation Agencyhas also stated that the war against terror in Kashmir is not about terror funding alone, it’s about a conspiracy to wage war against India. During the investigation the National Investigation Agencyhas arrested people allegedly involved in stone-pelting incidents for the first time including Kashmiri photojournalist Kamran Yusuf (Kamran Yousuf).
NIA Most Wanted :
The NIA Most Wanted is a most wanted list maintained by India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA). Individuals are generally only removed from the list if the fugitive is captured, dies, or if the charges against them are dropped.
In May 2011, following the killing of Osama bin Laden, India released a list of the 50 most wanted fugitives it alleged were hiding in Pakistan. The list was prepared in consultation with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the National Investigation Agency, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and various law enforcement agencies. According to Home Ministry spokesperson Onkar Kedia, the CBI had named 40 people and the NIA included 10 suspected terrorists in the list. However, it was later discovered that two of the people on the list submitted by the CBI were actually in India (one in jail, and the other was out on bail), following which the Home Ministry directed the agencies to review the list. India prepared a new list containing 48 names, and handed it over to Pakistan in July 2011 The list contained Interpol red corner notices, details of the crimes committed, aliases, Pakistani passport and identity document numbers of those allegedly hiding in Pakistan. The names on the list are Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, Major Sajid Majid, Major Sameer Ali, Major Syed Abdul Rehman alias Pasha, Major Abu Hamza, Dawood Ibrahim, Tiger Memon, Chhota Shakeel, Ayub Memon, Abdul Razzak, the five hijackers of Indian Airlines Flight 814 (Ibrahim Athar, Zahoor Ibrahim Mistri, Shahid Akhtar Sayed and Azhar Yusuf), Maulana Masood Azhar, Pir Syed Salahuddin, Zaki ur Rehman Lakhvi, Ilyas Kashmiri, Anwar Ahmed Haji Jamal, Mohammed Dosa, Javed Chikna, Salim Abdul Ghazi, Riyaz Khatri, Munaf Halari, Mohammad Salim Mujhahid, Khan Bashir Ahmed, Yakub Yeda Khan, Mohammed Memon, Irfan Chaugule, Ali Moosa, Sagir Ali Shaikh, Aftab Batki, Amir Raza Khan, Azam Cheema, Syed Zabiuddin Jabi, Ibrahim Athar, Azhar Yusuf, Zahur Ibrahim Mistri, Akhtar Sayeed, Mohammed Shakir, Abdul Rauf Asghar, Amanullah Khan, Sufiyan Mufti, Nachan Akmal, Pathan Yaqoob Khan, Bashir, Lakhbir Singh Rode, Paramjit Singh Pamma, Ranjit Singh and Wadhawa Singh Babbar.
Similar lists had been given to Pakistan in 2004, 2007, 2010 and March 2011. However, then Home Minister P. Chidambaram stated in a May 2011 interview with Karan Thapar on CNN-IBN’s Devil’s Advocate program, that “they never acted on any list”, were “always dismissive” and described the process as a “ritual”. He also blamed the CBI for errors in the 2011 list.
On 26 May 2013, DNA reported that National Investigation Agency had asked every State to send a report every three months on the latest activities and intelligence about the fugitives on its list. A senior police officer told the newspaper that they had to provide “the latest information on the latest locations of these fugitives, whether they are dead or alive and if they attended any religious functions recently”. The move was reportedly taken to prevent mistakes in the list, like the ones that had been found in the 2011 list
Rewards are offered for information leading to the capture of some, but not all, of the fugitives on the list. NIA does not assign any ranking to fugitives on the list. The list below follows the same order as the NIA website. As of September 2014, there are 54 individuals on the list.
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