SC Issues Notice on NIA’s Plea Challenging Fresh FIR by Chhattisgarh Police

Sakina Tashrifwala

Published on: September 21, 2022 at 21:54 IST

On Monday, the Supreme Court gave notice in a case challenging a new FIR filed in 2020 by the Chhattisgarh police to look into claims of a larger political conspiracy in the Maoist attack that claimed the lives of senior Congress leaders in Bastar in 2013.

The case was brought by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

“This is an important issue, we will issue notice.”

The second FIR filed in 2020 was likewise the subject of a further investigation stay issued by the bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Hima Kohli.

“There shall be a stay of further investigation by local police in FIR….”

The Chhattisgarh High Court‘s ruling dated 02.03.2022, which refused to dismiss the second FIR or transfer it to NIA for additional investigation, is challenged in the NIA’s plea.

The Central Investigation Agency had initially filed a quashing/transfer request with a Special NIA Court in Chhattisgarh, which was denied.

29 persons, including prominent Congress officials, were attacked and killed in Bastar during a vote-counting campaign in May 2013. The Central Government gave NIA the go-ahead to carry out the probe.

The son of one of the Congress officials who had perished in the 2013 attack, however, filed a second FIR in 2020 alleging a bigger political conspiracy.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) was given the task of investigating the Bastar ambush as a result of a directive issued by the Central Government in 2013 under Section 6 of the National Investigation Agency Act, 2008, according to Additional Solicitor General S.V. Raju, who appeared on behalf of the NIA.

However, over seven years later, in 2020, the State police filed a First Information Report (FIR) connected to the same incident to look into claims of a bigger conspiracy at the request of a new informant.

In accordance with Section 8 of the National Investigation Agency Act of 2008, Mr. Raju claimed that the allegation of the “bigger plot” is a linked offence and should be probed by the NIA.

Section 8 reads as under –

“While investigating any Scheduled Offence, the Agency may also investigate any other offence which the accused is alleged to have committed if the offence is connected with the Scheduled Offence.”

According to Mr. Raju, after the second FIR was filed in 2020, the NIA wrote to the Special Judge requesting that the local police halt their investigation and turn over the relevant documents to NIA in accordance with Section 8 of the NIA Act because the allegations relate to the same predicate offence.

The Senior Counsel representing the State stated that the NIA only filed a chargesheet for the primary offence in 2015 and never looked into the bigger conspiracy theory.

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