New Delhi: It was
formed three years ago and is working on 35 terror cases at the
moment. But with only one incident solved so far, India's premier
anti-terror probe body National Investigation Agency (NIA) has
very little to boast of, say experts.
Pointing out the dismal success rate and NIA's nearly Rs.17-crore
budget this fiscal, experts say the much-hyped agency has proved
to be a white elephant created to give a "symbolic impression"
that something is being done on the anti-terror front after the
Mumbai attack in 2008.
With Radha Vinod Raju as its first director-general, the federal
probe agency was set up Jan 18, 2009 -- months after 10 Pakistani
terrorists attacked Mumbai, shocking the nation and stunning
At the end of its three years, the agency is investigating 35
terror cases, including the recent Delhi High Court blasts, the
David Coleman Headley connection to the Mumbai attack, the
Malegaon bombings of 2006 and 2008, the Samjhauta Express, Mecca
Masjid and Ajmer blasts, according to NIA sources.
So far it has filed 21 chargesheets, the latest one being against
Pakistani American Headley and eight others, for their alleged
involvement in the Mumbai attack that killed 166 people. The case
is expected to come up for hearing later this week.
But only one case pertaining to a bomb explosion at a bus depot in
Kozhikode, Kerala, in 2006 has been solved. Two of the accused,
including alleged Lashkar-e-Taiba militant T. Naseer, have been
sentenced to life imprisonment.
The failure to meet expectations of probing terror strikes has led
to a lot of flak for the NIA.
Ajai Sahni, a security expert, says the NIA has been "nothing but
a wasteful, unproductive institution".
"It was a bad idea executed badly. You can't curb terror with
vanity projects just demonstrating symbolic impression that the
government was doing something," Sahni, who runs the South Asia
Terrorism Portal (www.satp.org ), told IANS.
Sahni questions the basic need to have the NIA. "Who are these
people running it? They are the people stolen from police,
Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Central Bureau of Investigation
(CBI). Why do you need NIA at all when you have not given
investigative autonomy even to the CBI?"
Pointing out a basic fault in its creation, former IB director
Ajit Doval believes a reality was "ignored" when the NIA was
The NIA lacks a systematic update on terror outfits, hw they
manage their inter-relationships, their modules, their changing
modus operandi, overground links, finances, communications,
weapons, he says. "Is that happening? No."
"This makes the agency work on simplistic inferences that often
fall back and their probe leads nowhere. It is just
event-focussed. It's not likely to take them too far," the former
IB head says.
But NIA officials say it is unfair to criticise a "three-year-old
baby who has just learned to walk".
"We are still growing but are in the right direction," a senior
NIA official told IANS, pleading anonymity.
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