What is National Investigation Agency?

National Investigation Agency

National Investigation Agency was formed after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks as need for a central agency to combat terrorism was realized. The conviction rate of this anti-terrorism agency is presently 95 percent as it has managed to convict 167 accused in the 185 cases registered by it since its inception.

The founder 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 the country. In July 2013, Sharad Kumar was chosen as the Chief of National Investigation Agency. In 2017, Y.C.Modi was named as Chief of NIA in September.

Agency focuses to be a thoroughly professional investigative agency matching the best international standards. Its objectives are 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 focuses on creating deterrence for existing and potential terrorist groups/individuals.

Several Special Courts have been notified by the Central Government of India for the trial of the cases registered at various police stations of NIA under Section 11 and 22 of the NIA Act 2008. Any query as to the jurisdiction of these courts is decided by the Central Government. These are presided over by a judge selected 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 shift 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 certain state. The NIA Special Courts are authorized with all powers of the court of sessions under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 for the trial of any offence.

Trial by this courts are held on a 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 priority to the trial of such other case. An appeal from any judgment, sentence or order, not being a conversationist order, of a Special Court lies to the High Court both on facts and on the law. Such an appeal can be heard by a division bench of two Judges of the High Court. Currently, there are 38 Special NIA Courts, State Governments have also been empowered to appoint one or more such special courts in their states.

The Agency has been empowered to organize investigation and prosecution of offences under the Acts specified in the Schedule of the NIA Act. A State Government may appeal the Central Government to hand over the investigation of a case to the NIA, granted the case has been registered for the offences as contained in the schedule to the NIA Act. Central Government can also summon NIA to take over the investigation of any scheduled offence anywhere in India. Officers of the National Investigation Agency 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 an investigation of any offence.