With few fresh cases, NIA out in the cold
Six years and 93 cases later, the National Investigation Agency is practically left with no new cases as states are reluctant to transfer investigations to the federal anti-terror agency. According to its website, the NIA has so far registered only one case across all its branches this year.india Updated: Apr 13, 2015 00:01 IST
Six years and 93 cases later, the National Investigation Agency is practically left with no new cases as states are reluctant to transfer investigations to the federal anti-terror agency. According to its website, the NIA has so far registered only one case across all its branches this year.
“States and their police forces are unwilling to transfer probes to the NIA. We are practically left with no new work. At the moment, we are mainly managing trials in old cases," said an NIA official, requesting anonymity.
More than half a dozen serious terror incidents, including improvised explosive devices (IED) blasts and near misses, took place in 2014 but none — with the exception of the Burdwan blast probe — landed in the NIA’s lap. The agency had written to the home ministry asking to probe at least three of these incidents — Karimnagar bank robbery (February 2), blast at Pune police station’s parking lot (July 11) and the Bijnor blast (September 12). In all three, the role of SIMI operatives, who escaped from Madhya Pradesh's Khandwa prison in 2013, was suspected.
"But the state governments or their police forces were unwilling bring the NIA on board as it reflects poorly on their record. We are working on giving some more cases to the NIA," said a home ministry official, requesting anonymity.
When contacted, the NIA refused to comment on the situation.
The role of the five SIMI operatives is also suspected in blasts at the Chennai railway station (May 1), Roorkee (December 6) and Bengaluru (December 28), but again the state governments were unwilling to hand over the cases to the NIA. Two of the alleged Khandwa escapees were gunned downed on April 4 in Telangana.
Though, under the NIA Act, the home ministry can hand over the probe of any terror incident to the federal agency without the concurrence of the concerned state government, the Centre rarely takes this route to avoid conflict.
Since the beginning of 2014, the NIA has registered 15 cases in all, including eight incidents of NDFB(S) violence in Bodo areas of Assam and a Maoist attack on a CRPF patrol in Chhattisgarh's Jheerum valley. "They are the cases where the alleged culprit is known and the NIA has to join the dots. Most of the accused in these cases will never get caught to face trial," said a counter-terror official.
One of the few significant cases with the agency is the Burdwan blast probe, and that too was handed over to it without the concurrence of the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government. The agency has filed its first chargesheet in the case.
Two other cases with the agency involve alleged ISIS recruits Areeb Majeed and Mohammad Sakir. "In Areeb's case, the probe is almost complete and Sakir was chargesheeted by the agency and pronounced guilty by the court as well. He is serving time in prison," the NIA official said.
Of the 93 cases registered by the NIA in six years, it has managed to secure conviction in 10 and in around 15 cases, the probe is stuck due to various reasons. In the rest 60 odd cases, the agency has managed to fully or partially complete the probe.
The agency was established in January 2009 in the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks and has a staff of around 800, including more than 20 IPS officers.