Armed with new powers after the amendments, the National Investigation Agency is all set to file the first case in connection with the Sri Lanka blasts. It will be the first case registered by the NIA ever since the new Bill gave additional power to the investigation agency, which the Opposition claims will change India into a ‘police state.’ The NIA Amendment Bill 2019 was passed in the Lok Sabha amid uproar and sharp debates between the Opposition leaders and Modi government ministers on July 15.
In simple terms, the NIA Amendment Bill 2019 will give power to the probe agency that was set up in the aftermath of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. The key change in the new Bill is that it empowers the NIA to probe offences under ‘scheduled list.’ This means that the NIA can now investigate the offences related to human trafficking; circulation of fake currency; manufacture and sale of prohibited arms; and cyber-terrorism.
According to an NDTV report, the NIA will probe the India links directly instead as the new Bill will enable the NIA to file a case. More than 250 people were killed in eight coordinated suicide attacks carried out by local Jihadi group National Thowheed Jammath (NTJ) linked to the ISIS on April 21.
The blasts - one of the deadliest attacks in the country's history - targeted St Anthony's Church in Colombo, St Sebastian's Church in the western coastal town of Negombo and Zion Church in the eastern town of Batticaloa around 8.45 am (local time) as the Easter Sunday mass were in progress, police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said. Explosions were reported from three five-star hotels - the Shangri-La, the Cinnamon Grand and the Kingsbury in Colombo.
The NIA will be probing how sleeper cells in India helped Zahran Hashim, the main accused in the Sri Lanka blast case. The investigation so far points out that Hashim had visited India and gotten in touch with many young people in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.