The National Investigation Agency got its first investigative brief on Monday.
The Centre invoked its power to suo motu direct the NIA, formed by Home Minister P. Chidambaram in the wake of last year’s Mumbai blasts, to take over the investigation of two cases, both registered in Assam.
The cases relate to the activities of the Dima Halam Daogah (Jewel Garlossa) cadres — also known as the Black Widow group — and in which cash amounting to over Rs 1 crore were seized along with weapons and mobile phone.
The first case was registered in early April when DHD-J activists Brojen Hojai and Babul Kemprai were arrested from the Assam-Meghalaya border just before they could deliver over Rs 1 crore to another militant group as payment for a large consignment of weapons.
The state police had arrested Mohit Hojai, the chief executive member of the North Cachar Hills District Autonomous Council, last week as being the alleged source of the money seized from Brojen and Babul.
In New Delhi, Home Ministry spokesman Onkar Kedia said the two Assam cases would be a test for the NIA.
“Over the past several months, the Centre has been receiving reports about large scale violence, intimidation, extortion, and smuggling of arms and explosives for these purposes by various underground and insurgent groups in Assam and other States of the North Eastern region.”
Kedia said that in view of reports that such groups had established links with external groups known to be hostile to
Indian interests. “Most of these groups have also established bases and hideouts in neighbouring countries and have been using them for training and organising supplies of weapons and explosives,” he said.