Can take up case suo motu if there is threat to country: NIA

Can take up case suo motu if there is threat to country: NIA

The National Investigation Agency on Wednesday submitted to the High Court of Karnataka that it can take up a suo motu investigation of a case if there is a threat to the unity, integrity and security of the country.

NIA made these submissions during the hearing of a petition filed by Asim Shariff, who is accused in RSS member Rudresh’s murder. On October 16, 2016, Rudresh was hacked to death by  bike-borne men near Commercial Street. Four persons were arrested later.

The petitioner contended that he (Shariff) is being wrongly booked under provisions of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) (UAP) Act, 1967, to aggravate the case by giving it a colour of terrorist act. He said that the Supreme Court has clearly said that to invoke UAP Act, there has to be strong evidence of threat to national security. But in Rudresh’s murder, there are no such ramifications.

The petitioner further contended that the Centre has gone beyond law and has referred the matter to NIA by invoking sections of the NIA Act, 1980, suo motu, which demands cogent material to justify a terrorist act. In the absence of the state government’s request, the Centre lacks material and jurisdiction to refer the matter to NIA. 

The counsel for NIA said the Union government, under the provisions of the NIA Act, 2008, issued a notification directing NIA to investigate the case. Further, the NIA has stated that prior to the re-registration of the case, a communication was received from the Karnataka police conveying the invoking of the offences under UAP Act, 1967 for investigation. The provisions of the NIA Act, 2008,  would make it amply clear that the Union government has been vested with powers under the NIA Act, 2008, to suo motu direct NIA to investigate any case involving scheduled offences. Justice John Michael Cunha had granted stay on NIA’s application for the accused’s custody. The stay was extended.
 

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