National Investigation Agency

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National Investigation Agency
Seal of NIA
Seal of NIA
Flag of NIA
Flag of NIA
Common nameNIA
Agency overview
Annual budget$16 million[2]
Jurisdictional structure
Federal agency
(Operations jurisdiction)
Operations jurisdictionIndia
Legal jurisdictionIndia
Governing bodyMinistry of Home Affairs, Government of India
General nature
Operational structure
HeadquartersNew Delhi, India
Elected officer responsible
Agency executive

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is India's counter-terrorist task force.[3] The agency is empowered to deal with terror related crimes across states without special permission from the states. The Agency came into existence with the enactment of the National Investigation Agency Act 2008 by the Parliament of India on 31 December 2008, which was passed after the deadly 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai. Such an attack clearly surfaced the failure of intelligence and ability to track such activities by existing agencies in India, hence the government of India realized the need of a specific body to deal with terror related activities in India, thereby establishing the NIA.[4][5][6][7] Headquartered in New Delhi, the NIA has branches in Hyderabad, Guwahati, Kochi, Lucknow, Mumbai, Kolkata, Raipur and Jammu.[8] It maintains NIA Most Wanted list.

NIA headquarters in New Delhi

The founding Director-General of NIA was Radha Vinod Raju, and he served till 31 January 2010. He was succeeded by Sharad Chandra Sinha[9][10] till March 2013. Navneet Rajan Wasan held full charge of DG till July 2013. In July 2013, Sharad Kumar was appointed as the Chief of National Investigation Agency. In 2017, Y. C. Modi was named as Chief of NIA in September.[11]


A Bill for the formation of the National Investigation Agency was passed by Parliament in December 2008. As per the Bill, NIA has concurrent jurisdiction which empowers the Central Agency to probe terror attacks in any part of the country, covering offences, including challenge to the country's sovereignty and integrity, bomb blasts, hijacking of aircraft and ships, attacks on nuclear installations. The amendments to the NIA Act has brought the offences relating to the smuggling in High-Quality Counterfeit Indian Currency under the definition of a terrorist Act aimed at damaging the monetary stability of the country and therefore can be investigated by the NIA.

The ground staff of the agency in the national capital could be drawn from existing central staff and security organisations while in the states, permanent deputation from the state police could be taken.

The National Investigative Agency Bill and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill on Tuesday, 30 Dec 2008, became a law as President Pratibha Patil gave her assent to the legislation which was passed in the last session of the parliament.

NIA (Amendment) Bill 2019[edit]

The NIA (Amendment) Bill 2019 was passed by the parliament on 17 July 2019. The Bill aims to give more teeth to the investigating powers of the NIA. It empowers the NIA to probe terror attacks targeting Indians and Indian interests abroad.[12] The amended legislation, which aims to primarily empower the anti-terror agency to investigate scheduled offences such as human trafficking; circulation of fake currency; manufacture and sale of prohibited arms; and cyber-terrorism, was passed with a majority of 278 votes in favour and six against in the Lok Sabha. It was also passed in the Rajya Sabha after those opposed to it staged a walkout.[13] This amendment will now also allow NIA to investigate the Sri Lanka Easter Bombings and Kabul Gurudwara bombing.[14]


Agency aims to be a thoroughly professional investigative agency matching the best international standards. It aims to set the standards of excellence in counter terrorism and other national security related investigations at the national level by developing into a highly trained, partnership oriented workforce. It also aims at creating deterrence for existing and potential terrorist groups/individuals. It aims to develop as a storehouse of all terrorist related information.[15]


The Agency has been empowered to conduct investigation and prosecution of offences under the Acts specified in the Schedule of the NIA Act.[16] A State Government may request the Central Government to hand over the investigation of a case to the NIA, provided the case has been registered for the offences as contained in the schedule to the NIA Act. Central Government can also order NIA to take over investigation of any scheduled offense anywhere in the India. Officers of the NIA who are drawn from the Indian Police Service and Indian Revenue Service, have all powers, privileges and liabilities which the police officers have in connection with investigation of any offense.[17]

On 2016 Home minister Rajnath Singh wanted to end the central agency's dependence on approval from state police chiefs before confiscating or attaching assets of people accused of crime.[18]

The National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Act, 2019 states that, officers of the NIA will have the power to investigate scheduled offences committed outside India, subject to international treaties and domestic laws of other countries. The central government may direct the NIA to investigate such cases, as if the offence has been committed in India. The Special Court in New Delhi will have jurisdiction over these cases.[19]

Special NIA Courts[edit]

Various Special Courts have been notified by the Central Government of India for trial of the cases registered at various police stations of NIA under Section 11 and 22 of the NIA Act 2008. Any question as to the jurisdiction of these courts is decided by the Central Government. These are presided over by a judge appointed by the Central Government on the recommendation of the Chief Justice of the High Court with jurisdiction in that region. Supreme Court of India has also been empowered to transfer the cases from one special court to any other special court within or outside the state if the same is in the interest of justice in light of the prevailing circumstances in any particular state. The NIA Special Courts are empowered with all powers of the court of sessions under Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 for trial of any offense.[16]

Trial by this courts are held on day-to-day basis on all working days and have precedence over the trial of any other case against the accused in any other court (not being a Special Court) and have to be concluded in preference to the trial of such other case. An appeal from any judgement, sentence or order, not being an interlocutory order, of a Special Court lies to the High Court both on facts and on law. Such an appeal can be heard by a division bench of two Judges of the High Court. At present there are 38 Special NIA Courts.[20] State Governments have also been empowered to appoint one or more such special courts in their states.[16]

Recent success of NIA[edit]

Individual terrorists[edit]

In year 2012, NIA with the assistance of Interpol and Saudi Intelligence agencies has successfully arrested terrorists namely: Abu Jundal alias Abu Hamza, (Indian national), Fasih Mohammad and Yaseen Bhatkal (Indian Mujahideen).[21]

In the year 2013, NIA was successful in arresting two senior members of Indian Mujahideen, namely Ahmed Siddibappa Zaraar alias Yasin Bhatkal and Asadullah Akhtar alias Haddi, from Indo Nepal border in Bihar on 29 August 2013. These two were instrumental in the commission of a number of terrorist attacks across the country for the past several years, under the banner of Indian Mujahideen, a proscribed terrorist organisation.

Terrorist organisations[edit]

Jamaat-Ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh[edit]

In 2014 NIA investigators began probing the conspiracy of Jamaat-Ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) a proscribed terrorist organisation in Bangladesh, which was conspiring to spread its terror network in Indian states of West Bengal, Assam and Jharkhand. The terrorist conspiracy in India aimed at recruitment, radicalisation and training of vulnerable Indian youths in violent Jihadist ideology and terrorist acts, collection of funds for the organisational activities in India and training them in fabrication and use of Improvised explosive devices (IED's) and firearms for terrorist acts. NIA has arrested 20 persons in the case so far and 27 accused have been charged so far for their role in the conspiracy, including 5 Bangladeshi nationals. NIA is actively seeking and receiving cooperation from the Government of Bangladesh and law enforcement agencies in the ongoing investigations.

Jammu and Kashmir war on terror[edit]

NIA has been active in the war against terror in Jammu and Kashmir. On 18 January 2018, NIA filed a chargesheet against 12 people including Lashkar-e-Taiba terror group chief Hafiz Saeed and Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin.[22][23] This chargesheet was filed after nearly eight months of investigations spanning six states in India during which over 300 witnesses were examined, 950 "incriminating documents" and 600 electronic devices were seized.[24] NIA has also stated that the war against terror in Kashmir is not about terror funding alone, it's about a conspiracy to wage war against India.[25] During the investigation the NIA has arrested people allegedly involved in stone-pelting incidents for the first time including Kashmiri photojournalist Kamran Yusuf.[26][27][28]


It has identified two Naxalite commanders in Bastar who were part of the ambush that killed almost the entire Congress' Chhattisgarh top brass.[29]


Under The constitution of India, law and order is a state subject. There have been questions raised on how NIA is usurping state rights under the guise of fighting terror. A US Embassy cable accessed by The Hindu says, that union home minister P Chidambaram told FBI Director Robert Mueller that National Investigation Agency's powers could be challenged in the courts as violating constitutional provisions on Centre-State relations.[30] In 2020 Chhatishgarh state filed a case against the act in the supreme court that the said act violates the constitution.[31]

See also[edit]


  1. NIA officer Mohammed Tanzil shot dead as children watched "Ahmad, who has been with the NIA ever since the organisation was formed in February 2009..."
  2. 2.0 2.1 "With shoe-string budget, NIA poorly equipped for counterterrorism". Times of India. 7 November 2014. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  3. "NIA to have new HQ complex on Tuesday" – via The Economic Times.
  4. "National Investigation Agency: About Us". National Investigation Agency. Archived from the original on 8 July 2013. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
  5. TNN 16 Dec 2008, 12.04am IST (16 December 2008). "Finally, govt clears central terror agency, tougher laws". Retrieved 28 September 2013.
  6. "Cabinet clears bill to set up federal probe agency". Archived from the original on 8 May 2013. Retrieved 9 December 2012.
  7. PTI 16 Dec 2008, 07.40pm IST (16 December 2008). "Govt tables bill to set up National Investigation Agency". Retrieved 28 September 2013.
  8. "Branch Offices". National Investigation Agency. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
  9. "Sharad Chandra Sinha new NIA chief". Deccan Herald. February 2010. Retrieved 11 July 2013.
  10. "S.C. Sinha- Appointed Director General of NIA". Retrieved 9 December 2012.
  11. "Y.C. Modi appointed NIA chief". The Hindu. 18 September 2017. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  12. "Parliament approves Bill to give NIA more teeth". India Today. Press Trust of India New Delhi. 17 July 2019. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  13. "The NIA (Amendment) Bill 2019 - a brief explainer". The Leaflet. 19 July 2019. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  14. "NIA to probe terror attack on gurdwara in Afghanistan; first overseas case registered by agency". The New Indian Express. 1 April 2020. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  15. "Vision and Mission". National Investigation Agency. Retrieved 9 December 2012.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 "National Investigation Agency Act 2008" (PDF). National Investigation Agency. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 May 2013. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
  17. "Frequently Asked Questions". National Investigation Agency. Archived from the original on 4 July 2013. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
  18. Tikku, Aloke (22 December 2016). "Govt wants more power for NIA, move could eat into states' rights 00:29 IST". Hindustan Times. Archived from the original on 8 February 2019. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  19. "Amended NIA Act with powers to probe abroad comes into force". The Economic Times. Retrieved 13 August 2020.
  20. "National Investigation Agency - Courts". Archived from the original on 5 June 2013. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
  21. "Saudi sends IM terror suspect back to India". Hindustan Times. Archived from the original on 13 May 2013. Retrieved 28 September 2013.
  22. "National Investigation Agency charges LeT chief Hafiz Saeed with sedition". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  23. "Kashmir terror funding: NIA files chargesheet against 12 people, including Hafiz Saeed and Syed Salahuddin - Firstpost". Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  24. "NIA files chargesheet in Kashmir terror funding case: Shrinking influence of separatists opens up opportunity for dialogue - Firstpost". Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  25. "Pakistan Embassy Officials Involved In Kashmir Terror Funding: NIA". Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  26. "Journalists protest in Srinagar after Kamran Yousuf's arrest by NIA". The Indian Express. 7 September 2017. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  27. "Terror funding case: Kashmir freelance photo-journalist amongst 2 arrested for stone-pelting". India Today. 5 September 2017. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  28. "India charges photojournalist arrested in Kashmir in September with sedition, other crimes". Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  29. "NIA cracks Bastar ambush case as Naxal Usendi Sings". The Economic Times. 24 January 2014. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  30. "Chidambaram was unsure of NIA's constitutionality". Hindustan Times. 19 March 2011.
  31. "Cong-ruled Chhattisgarh moves SC against NIA Act enacted by Cong-led UPA". Hindustan Times. 15 January 2020.

External links[edit]