31 Dec :The National Investigation Agency, the federal organisation being set up to deal with terrorism across the country will come into force from Thursday and will be headed by a Director General level officer.
"The order constituting the NIA will be issued tomorrow," Home Minister P Chidambaram told a press conference in New Delhi, hours after President Pratibha Patil gave assent to the NIA bill as also to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, which have now become law.
The two bills, brought forward in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks, were passed by Parliament during the just-concluded session in order make the anti-terror laws deterrent.
Chidambaram said the Director General of the new agency will be named in the next few days."NIA will be established to investigate terrorist offences. As and when any case is assigned to NIA, it will take up investigation," he said.
To a question, the Home Minister said that cases to be taken up by the NIA would be decided by a committee of two judges, who will decide the merit of the cases within seven working days and the government will take a decision in as many days.
On the investigation into the Mumbai attacks, he said "investigations are progressing on the right track".The Home Minister said work is in progress to set up 20 counter-insurgency and anti-terrorism schools.
He said the Multi Agency Centre (MAC) acting as nodal agency on all terror-related intelligence has become operational on a 24×7 basis from today.
Chidambaram said an order has been issued today under which MAC has to share inputs will all intelligence agencies, including agencies of state governments and union territories and vice-versa.
He said subsidiaries of MAC have been established in some state capitals and in due course these would be set up in remaining state capitals.
The Home Minister, who will chair a meeting of MAC on Thursday, hoped that there would be "distinct improvement" in the gathering and sharing of intelligence relating to terrorism, terrorist threats and terrorist offences.
Chidambaram, who took over the reins of Home Ministry on 1st December, said a new and mutually beneficial arrangement has been established under which all intelligence agencies share intelligence on a real time basis and are able to make a joint preliminary assessment of the inputs.
Asked about the cooperation from Pakistan in investigation of Mumbai terror attacks, Chidambaram said if someone was in a state of denial mode, "anything we give will be denied."
He said the father of Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving terrorist in the Mumbai attack, has come on a Pakistani television saying that he (Kasab) is his son.
"Kasab himself has written to the Pakistan Government seeking legal help. What more evidence does Pakistan require," he asked.
Prez gives assent to the Bill
National Investigative Agency (NIA) Bill and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill on Wednesday became law as President Pratibha Patil gave her assent to these legislations which were passed in the last session of Parliament
Home Minister P Chidambaram told reporters that the presidential assent has been received today."The regulations have come into effect from today," Chidambaram said.
He said the NIA will get its Director General in a few days."NIA will be established to investigate terrorist offences. As and when any case is assigned to NIA, it will take up investigation," he said.
Chidambaram said the work is in progress to set up 20 counter insurgency and anti-terrorism schools in the country which will train personnel to tackle cases involving terrorists.
The Home Minister also announced that a round the clock information gathering and sharing centre on terrorism has come into effect from today.
He said the Ministry will soon bring before the Cabinet a note on establishing NSG hubs in four main cities of the country and more such hubs will be set up in other cities as well.
Asked about the cooperation from Pakistan in investigation of Mumbai terror attacks, Chidambaram said "they are in a state of denial. Everything that we will give will be denied."
He said the father of Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving terrorist in the Mumbai attack, has appeared on the television saying that he (Kasab) is his son.
"Kasab himself has written to the Pakistan Government seeking legal help. What more evidence Pakistan needs," he said.To a question on the NIA, Chidambaram said the Director General of the new agency for investigating terror-related cases will be appointed in "next few days".
Chidambaram said new appointments will be made paramilitary forces for the number personnel drawn for the new NSG hubs coming up in the four cities.
On the execution of Parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru, he said the ministry was examining the case."There are 27 persons in the deathrow. Afzal Guru is one among them. We are examining it," he said.
Asked about Home Ministry’s course of action in the cash-for-vote scam case which was referred to it by the Lok Sabha Speaker, he said the ministry will look into the report and decide on how to go about it.
He said he was "not aware" whether the report has reached the Ministry.