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MHA floats draft bill: Govt wants to give NIA more teeth

The draft Bill also proposes to give powers to the NIA to launch parallel probe into terror attacks on Indians and their properties abroad.

Written by Rahul Tripathi | New Delhi |
December 20, 2016 1:05:54 am
NIA, NIA powers, MHA, National Investigation Agency, NIA control, NIA bill, NIA draft bill, yasin bhatkal, hyderabad blast, malegaon blast, terrorism, indian terror attacks, mumbai attack, indian express news, india news The ministry has sought comments from the public on the proposed amendments within a month. (Photo for representational purpose. )

The government has proposed to give broader powers to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), with the Union Home Ministry floating a draft Bill that empowers the agency’s director-general to carry out “seizure and attachment of powers of a property representing proceeds of terrorism”. The NIA at present needs approval of the state DGP before such seizures.

A senior Home Ministry official said, “Sometimes, the accused persons own properties in more than one state and seeking approval of DGPs of different states is a time-consuming process and may give chance to the suspect to transfer the properties.”

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The ministry has sought comments from the public on the proposed amendments within a month.

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The draft Bill also proposes to give powers to the NIA to launch parallel probe into terror attacks on Indians and their properties abroad. The move comes after repeated attacks by militants on Indian consulates in Jalalabad and Mazar-i-Sharif in Afghanistan, leading to deaths of nearly a dozen suspects and civilians, officials said.

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has similar powers, which were exercised to conduct parallel probes after the 2008 Mumbai attacks in which six American nationals were killed. The draft Bill also proposes to designate any individual suspected of having terror links in the list of terrorist entities.

The decision was taken after a surge in the number of youths joining the Islamic State prompted the Home Ministry to hold consultations with central agencies and state governments. The amendment, according to officials, will lead to issue a ban against an individual not associated with any terror organisation but indulging in terror acts independently.

At present, there are 39 groups in the list of banned terrorist organisations under Section 35 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the NSCN (Khaplang) being the latest one to be added after it carried out the audacious attack on the Indian Army last year.

The proposed amendments also gives powers to inspectors of the NIA to investigate offences under the UAPA. Currently, only an officer of deputy SP-rank or above is empowered to probe UAPA cases.

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