NIA will probe beyond terror: Will it irk state governments?

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New Delhi, Dec 22: The Union Home ministry wants to put an end to the National Investigation Agency's dependancy on the state police. This move is likely to irk the state governments who would cry foul and term the decision as interference. There has always been a tussle between the union and state governments over the powers of Central agencies. State governments say that law and order is a state subject.

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NIA will probe beyond terror

The ministry has come up with several proposals to expand the powers of the NIA. The NIA which restricted itself to probing terror cases will now given the responsibility of investigating cases relating to human trafficking, hacking of websites, violations under the Explosives Act and also arms dealers.

Ending dependancy on the state:

The major decision however is to end the dependancy the NIA has on the state police. The ministry feels that the NIA should not depend on the state police before attaching and confiscating assets. The Centre has now proposed several amendments to the NIA act. Once amended, the NIA would have powers to probe crimes outside India. The NIA will also probe trafficking cases apart from selling of firearms even if the case if not related to terrorism.

The NIA would have hands full once these amendments are made. The problem however is with regard to the overstepping of jurisdiction. State governments had cited no problem when the agency was set up post the Mumbai 26/11 attack because they felt the need for a centralised agency to probe terror. However, the amendments being proposed clearly appear to give the NIA more than just work relating to terrorism.

[Also read: How almonds fund terror activities in J&K]

Cases such as trafficking and selling of firearms even if not connected to terror will fall under the NIA's purview if the amendments are made. State governments are bound to object citing overstepping of jurisdiction. It has been said several times in the past that law and order is a state subject and the centre must limit its interference.

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