The government wants to give more powers to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to fight terrorism with zero tolerance but the opposition highlighted the misuse of the agency for ‘political vendetta’.
The Minister of State for Home G. Kishan Reddy sought support from all parties in the Lok Sabha for the passage of the National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill 2019. Reddy said the new bill will allow the agency to look into cases of terrorism targeting Indians and Indian assets aboard. He said it will empower the agency to investigate cases of arms and human trafficking. “The NIA has been doing a good work and secured conviction in over 90% of the cases and so far it has registered 272 cases out of which judgment has been delivered in 52 cases,” Reddy said.
The Minister explained that terrorism has international dimensions and it is imperative for the NIA to be empowered to probe incidents of terrorism targeting Indians, the Indian embassy and other assets aboard.
However, Manish Tewari of the Congress opposed the bill highlighted the agency’s misuse in political vendetta and media leaks. Tewari, according to The Hindu, claimed that the constitutional validity of the NIA Act, which led to the investigation agency’s formation is still not settled as pleas challenging its validity are pending in different courts. “When investigating agencies are seen as being misused for political vendetta, then there is a fundamental problem with a bill that seeks to empower a probe body,” Tewari said.
Other opposition members, N.K Premachandran and Saugata Roy also questioned the government’s decision to push for a discussion amid ongoing budget.