Lok Sabha passed the National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2019 on Monday after a heated debate between Home Minister Amit Shah and the Opposition.
The Bill amends the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act, 2008 that provides for a national-level agency to investigate and prosecute offences listed in the scheduled offences.
Some MPs however opposed the bill as they said that the anti-terror law is misused at times to target members of a particular community.
“Let me make it clear. The Modi government has no such intention. Its only goal is to finish off terrorism but we will also not look at the religion of the accused while taking action,” Home Minister Amit Shah said in defence of the Bill.
He said terror attacks witnessed an upsurge after the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) was repealed resulting in the same UPA government being forced to constitute NIA after the Mumbai attacks.
Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy sought support of all parties for the passage of the National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2019.
However Manish Tewari of the Congress opposed the bill, saying probe agencies are misused for “political vendetta” and “inspired media leaks” from them have turned the maxim of “innocent until proven guilty” on its head.
Shah sought all-party support for the bill’s passage, saying a division in the House on the issue of strengthening the agency will send out a wrong message and boost the morale of terrorists.
The Bill seeks to allow the NIA to investigate the following offences in addition to human trafficking, offences related to counterfeit currency or bank notes, manufacture or sale of prohibited arms, cyber-terrorism and offences under the Explosive Substances Act, 1908.