The government has decided to bring a fresh law for the creation of a new investigative agency to deal exclusively with terrorism, shelving its earlier plans of empowering the existing agencies and amending the present laws.
A bill for the creation of a Federal Investigative Agency is likely to be presented in Parliament soon after it meets again from December 10, highly placed government sources said.
In case, disruptions in Parliament pose a problem in passing the bill, the government is ready to bring an ordinance to move ahead with the new agency, which remained on paper so far due to stiff resistance from many state governments.
The Law, Home, and Defence Ministries, along with top intelligence officials and Department of Personnel and Training are reportedly involved in the exercise.
“Extraordinary situations require extraordinary responses from the government,” Law Minister H.R. Bhardwaj said.
“We need strong new steps…. The CBI was formed to deal with cases of corruption and subsequently, crimes which could not be solved by state police. The National Security Act is primarily for preventive detention,” he said.
“Creating an anti-terrorism unit in the CBI or amending the National Security Act to investigate terror attacks are, both not workable. The enormous challenge can only be met with a new professional agency based on a fresh law,” said a senior government official, not willing to be named.
“The brief would be similar to America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation — prevention and investigation of terror attacks,” he said.
All intelligence inputs, countrywide will be sent to the new agency to process, analyse and most importantly follow-up.
This will do away with the blame game between different security and intelligence agencies, and also, between the centre and states.
The new agency would have the powers to directly take up terror cases for investigation and have its own special fast track courts.
The government is finalising the administrative structure of the new agency.
Possibilities explored, include the creation of a new cadre where the best officials from the Intelligence Bureau (IB), the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), Customs, Revenue Intelligence and the Defence Intelligence services could be absorbed.
It remains to be seen whether the officials absorbed from other services would be permanently absorbed, or would follow the existing system of central deputation, or work through a system of assured, fixed tenure.