The Lok Sabha Monday passed the National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2019 that will allow the investigation agency to also probe terror cases targeting Indians and Indian assets abroad.
A total of 278 members favoured for passage of the bill while six opposed it The bill would now go to the Rajya Sabha before being sent to the President for his approval.
The amendments will also allow the NIA to probe cybercrimes and cases of human trafficking The NIA was set up in 2009 in the wake of the Mumbai terror attack that had claimed 166 lives. Since 2017, the Union Home Ministry has been pushing for giving more power to the NIA to meet fresh challenges.
The Lok Sabha passed the amendment bill following a discussion and Home Minister Amit Shah’s reply to various concerns raised by opposition leaders pertaining to the proposed changes in the existing act.
Responding to concerns over possible misuse of the terror law, Shah assured the House that the bill was aimed only at eliminating terrorism.
The Minister added that the anti-terror law will not see the religion of people involved in terror activities and the changes in the law will effectively handle terror cases.
The National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2019 provides for the national-level agency to investigate and prosecute offences listed in a schedule (scheduled offences). Further, it allows for creation of Special Courts for the trial of such scheduled offences.
Once the amendments are incorporated in the law, NIA officials would have the same investigation powers in terror cases as other police officers across India. Additionally, they will have the power to investigate scheduled offences committed outside India subject to international treaties and domestic laws of other countries.
The Bill also allows the Central government to designate sessions courts as special courts for the trial of scheduled offences.