Supreme Court: Notice Issued On NIA’s Plea Challenging Fresh FIR By Chhattisgarh Police To Probe Larger Conspiracy Allegations In 2013 Maoist Attack On Congress Leaders

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The Supreme Court in the case NIA v. State of Chhattisgarh SLP observed and issued notice in appeal filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) challenging a fresh FIR registered, in 2020, by the Chhattisgarh police to probe the allegations of larger political conspiracy in the Maoist attack that had killed senior Congress leaders in 2013 in Bastar.
The Court stated that it is an important issue, we will issue notice.
The bench comprising of Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and the Justice Hima Kolhi observed and has also stayed further investigation by the local police in the second FIR lodged in 2020.
It added that there shall be a stay of further investigation by local police in FIR.
The Court observed that the NIA’s petition assails the order of the Chhattisgarh High Court dated 02.03.2022, whereby it had refused to quash the second FIR or transfer the same to NIA for further investigation. Thus, the Central investigation agency had initially moved a Special NIA Court in Chhattisgarh with a quashing/transfer plea, the same was rejected.
Further, the court observed that in In May, 2013, 29 people, including senior Congress leaders were attacked and killed during a poll campaign in Bastar. The Central Government directed the NIA to conduct the investigation. In 2020, the second FIR was lodged by the son of one of the Congress leaders who had lost his life to the 2013 attack, wherein alleging a larger political conspiracy.
The counsel, Additional Solicitor General, S.V. Raju, appearing on behalf of NIA, apprised the Bench that NIA was entrusted with the investigation of the Bastar ambush pursuant to an order being passed by the Central Government in 2013 under Section 6 of the National Investigation Agency Act, 2008. Further, after almost seven years, in 2020, a FIR pertaining to the same incident was lodged by the State police to probe into allegations of larger conspiracy at the instance of a new informant. It was argued by Mr. Raju that the allegation of the ‘larger conspiracy’ is a connected offence and hence ought to be investigated by NIA in terms of Section 8 of the National Investigation Agency Act, 2008.
Section 8 reads as under-
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, while investigating any Scheduled offence.
Before the court, it was submitted by Mr. Raju that after the second FIR was lodged in 2020, considering that the allegations pertain to the same predicate offence NIA had written to the Special Judge asking the local police to stop their investigation and to hand-over the documents to NIA by virtue of Section 8 of the NIA Act.
It was submitted by the Senior Counsel for the State that chargesheet in the main offence was filed by NIA in 2015, and the larger conspiracy angle was never investigated by it.