SET up in the aftermath of Mumbai 26/11 attacks,the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has approached the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to expand their functional area to include crimes like murder,dacoity and robbery in their mandate. Presently,the agency can only investigate terror crime where there is a provision of scheduled offences under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. In its proposal,the anti-terror organisation said that these crimes many a times also pertain to national security but under the NIA act,the agency cannot take up investigations into such crime.
The agency also cited the case of two Italian marines who were held for killing two Indian fishermen along the Kerala coast in 2012.
The case was transferred to the NIA on the orders of the Supreme Court but the agency found that they have no powers to investigate a murder case after which the provision of Maritime Act was invoked.
After investigations,the agency recently sought prosecution sanction under Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Act from the MHA.
The ministry,however,said that they will seek legal opinion on giving the sanction as the act has only death term which goes against the sovereign assurance given by India to Italy in this case. The two Italain Marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone are presently lodged in New Delhis Italy embassy premises. The MHA is also of the view that if sanction is given,the NIA can inform the trial court not to award the accused death penalty if found guilty.
A senior Home Ministry official also said that the MHA is considering the proposal to expand NIAs functional areas to include murder and dacoity. According to agency,the heinous cases can be brought under the NIA Act,2008 by amending Section 6.
The agency also cited the case of RSS pracharak Sunil Joshis murder in 2007 which was later transferred to NIA as it was was part of the conspiracy involving accused in saffron terror cases being probed by the agency.
NIA has also quoted the recent interrogation reports of the terror suspects of Indian Mujahideen (IM). According to these reports,the IM operatives have been asked to finance jihad by committing crime like robberies and dacoities.