National

RS passes NIA Bill as Opposition stands divided on reference to select panel

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on July 17, 2019 Published on July 17, 2019

A view of National Investigation Agency (NIA) Headquarter, in New Delhi   -  V. Sudershan

The National Investigating Agency (Amendment) Bill was passed ‘unanimously’ in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday as the demand of the Left parties to send the Bill to a Select Committee did not get support even from the rest of the Opposition.

The Left parties staged a walkout questioning the Centre’s reluctance and Congress MP T Subbirami Reddy withdrew the amendments against the Bill after Home Minister Amit Shah’s assurance that the Centre will not allow the misuse of the Act.

Replying to the three-hour-long debate, Shah urged the Opposition members not to undermine the capability of the NIA. He said out of the 195 cases registered by the agency, chargesheets have been filed in 129 and conviction has been ensured in 41 cases. He said the new provisions will enable the NIA to deal with incidents of terror against Indians living abroad.

He also questioned the UPA regime for “politicising” the probe into the blasts in Samjhauta Express and Mecca Masjid. “The UPA government tried to link the case with one religion,” he said and adding that the Samjhauta blast case did not stand the trial in the court as the chargesheet filed during the UPA regime failed to provide evidences against the accused.

He assured the MPs that the Act is not against federal principles and the Narendra Modi regime will not allow the misuse of its provisions.

Congress MP Vivek Tankha said the sovereignty of States must be protected and cited the example of the probe into the Darbha valley Maoist attack that claimed the lives of more than two dozen Congress leaders and workers. He said the NIA refused to probe the conspiracy behind the attacks despite an offer from the State to cooperate.

More teeth to the Act

The Bill also gives the NIA the authority to probe cyber crimes, cases of human trafficking and fake notes.

BJP member Ashok Bajpai said the UPA destabilised the attacks against terror by nullifying Acts such as POTA. Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien said the Bill should have been sent to a select committee.

He said in the 14th Lok Sabha, 60 per cent of the Bills were sent to Parliamentary panels, while in the 15th Lok Sabha, 71 per cent of Bills were scrutinised by standing or select committees. Just 26 per cent of the Bills went to such panels in the first Narendra Modi government, but during its second tenure none of the Bills have gone to any panels, he added.

Published on July 17, 2019

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