NIA to investigate all Saffron terror cases across India

The government in order to expedite the investigation process has now decided to hand over all saffron terror cases to the National Investigation Agency (NIA). In this regard, the union home ministry in its letters the CBI and state governments investigating the involvement of right wing extremist groups sought their approval in handing over all such cases to NIA.

The Madhya Pradesh government at that point of time opposed the Centre’s demand ot the state govt. to hand over the probe of former RSS activists Sunil Joshi to the NIA. As per the NIA act it empowers the Centre to transfer any terror case without the state government's consent. The unwillingness on the part of the Madhya Pradesh government to hand over the Sunil Joshi murder case to the NIA even forced the home ministry to seek legal advice on the issue. According to the latest cable published by a leading newspaper Home Minister P Chidambaram had briefed a senior US official that the National Investigation Agency’s (NIA) authority was constitutionally weak, because in India’s federal system law and order is a state subject. US Embassy cable on 4 March 2009, accessed through WikiLeaks says Chidambaram told the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) director Robert Mueller that the agency didn't have enough legal protection as its powers could be challenged in the court for violating constitutional provisions on Centre-state relations.

The decision to hand over all such terror cases to the NIA was necessary so that the suspects could not use differences in the multiple investigations at the trial stage to dilute the cases against them. All other agencies involved in the terror probe and states have agreed to hand over the cases to NIA except Madhya Pradesh government. All the seven cases which the NIA will investigate are: 1. Malegaon bomb blast that took place in the year 2006 is presently being probed by the CBI. 2. Samjhauta Express blast in 2007 is being investigated by NIA. 3. Mecca Masjid blast in 2007 by the CBI. 4. Ajmer Sharif blast in 2007 by the Rajasthan ATS. 5. Malegaon blast in 2008 is being probed by the Maharashtra ATS. 6. Modasa blast in 2008 is being investigated by the NIA. 7. Sunil Joshi murder in 2007 is being probed by Maharashtra police.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 April 2011 on page no. 4

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