J&K government sets up separate investigation agency for terrorism related cases

To be called 'State Investigation Agency (SIA)', it will also act as a nodal agency for coordinating with National Investigation Agency

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir government has given its nod for setting up a separate state investigation agency for investigation and prosecution of all terrorism related cases.

To be called 'State Investigation Agency (SIA)', it will also act as a nodal agency for coordinating with the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and other central agencies and "shall take other measures as may be necessary for speedy and effective investigation and prosecution of terrorism related case," an order issued by the J&K's Home Department in capital Srinagar on Monday said.

The officials termed it a major step towards “fighting terrorism, militancy and violence more effectively”. The Home Department order says that the SIA will have powers to suo moto register First Information Report (FIR) while all police stations in J&K will mandatorily intimate it on registration of militancy-related cases. “All the officers In-charge of the police stations shall mandatorily intimate the SIA immediately upon registration of terrorism related cases and also about the cases where any terrorism linkage surfaces during the investigation,” the order says.

As per the order, the government has empowered the Director General of Police (DGP) to handover a case to the SIA at any point of time during investigations. The DGP will determine in consultation with the SIA whether a case in which investigation is not being done by the NIA is fit to be investigated by it (SIA) and transfer investigation of such a case at any point of time during the probe by the police. Gravity of the offence, progress of investigation and other relevant factors will be the determining factors for handing over cases to the SIA. However, if there is a difference of opinion, the DGP shall take a decision while recording the reasons in writing.

In the cases where investigation is not transferred to the SIA, the government has asked the police headquarters to ensure that it (SIA) is kept informed about the progress of investigation at regular intervals, preferably on fortnightly basis. “If the SIA is of the opinion that an offence has been committed, which is fit to be investigated by it, the agency shall register an FIR suo moto while keeping the DGP J&K informed,” the order reads.

The order further says that the SIA shall also be the agency for investigation and trial of offences in cases which are transferred to the J&K government in terms of Section 7 of the National Investigation Act.

The SIA shall consist of a Director and such number of officers and staff as are deputed by the government from time to time. The CID, CIK (Counter-Intelligence Kashmir) and CIJ (Counter-Intelligence Jammu) shall also be the police stations for the purposes of registration and investigation of terror cases by the SIA. The head of the CID wing of the J&K police will be the ex-officio director of the SIA.

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