Parliament passes National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill


New Delhi: Parliament has passed the National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2019 with the Rajya Sabha approving it today unanimously.

The Lok Sabah has already passed the bill. The legislation aims at enhancing the jurisdiction of NIA to investigate scheduled offences committed outside India targeting Indians as well as Indian assets abroad.

The latest amendment will enable the NIA to additionally investigate offences related to human trafficking, counterfeit currency, manufacture or sale of prohibited arms, cyber-terrorism and offences  under the Explosive Substances Act, 1908.

It also provides for constituting special courts for the trial of scheduled offences such as human trafficking and cyber terrorism.

Replying to a debate on the bill, Home Minister Amit Shah assured the House that the NIA will be able to deal with the cases related to terrorism against Indian citizens abroad and against the interest of the country. He said, it is not appropriate to raise fingers on the efficiency of this agency. Mr Shah also assured the House, the Narendra Modi led government will not allow misuse of the Act.

Mr Shah said since 2014, a total of 195 cases were registered by NIA, of which charge- sheet was filed in 129 cases. Out of the 129 cases, judgement came in 44 cases and of them, punishment were given in 41 cases. He added that 184 accused have been convicted in these cases.

On a query by Congress’ Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Mr Shah defended the government for not filing an appeal against the acquittal of the accused in Samjhauta Express blasts case. He said, the charge-sheet was filed by the previous Congress led UPA government without proof.

He alleged that the case was registered out of political vendetta. He emphasised that the base of any case is the charge sheet and if it is weak and without proof, it will not  stand in the court of law.

Earlier, Moving the bill, Minister of State for Home, G Kishan Reddy said, the legislation will strengthen the legal framework of NIA to counter-terrorism. He also said, it will ensure harsher punishment for terrorists. Vivek Tankha of Congress raised question on the bill. He said that constitutionality of a body like NIA is under challenge since policing is under state jurisdiction.

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