In 2023 NIA achieved new milestone in fight against terrorists, gangsters

Registers over 94% conviction rate, arrested 625 accused, attached property worth Rs 56 crore
New Delhi December 31 (KNS): With a stupendous conviction rate of 94.70%, arrest of 625 accused, and attachment of assets worth around Rs. 56 crores, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) notched new milestones of success in its fight against terrorists, gangsters, drug smugglers, human traffickers and other criminals operating against national interests during 2023.
Some of the most notable successes for NIA during the year were against ISIS, Kashmiri and other Jihadis, as well as against the growing terror-gangster nexus & networks active in the country. All these categories of terrorists and organized criminal groups have been on the NIA radar for the past few years and the anti-terror agency cracked down aggressively during 2023 on the agents and operatives working for these terror groups.
The attacks on the High Commissions of India in Ottawa and London, as well as on the Consulate General of India, San Francisco, USA, also remained the focus of the NIA actions offences against Indian interests abroad through the year, which witnessed more than 50 raids & searches as part of the agency’s efforts to unravel the conspiracy behind the attacks on Indian Missions abroad. The attacks had involved criminal trespass, vandalism, damage to public property, and attempts to cause hurt to Indian officials and damage the Consulate building through acts of arson. NIA has used several innovative methods of investigation, including crowd sourcing of information while investigating the larger conspiracy of attacks on Indian Missions, which resulted in identification of 43 suspects. The NIA has stepped up its investigation in these cases in recent months and examined more than 80 persons in India suspected to be part of the conspiracy of the attacks.
Overall, the year witnessed the NIA scale up its operations manifold across India as against the previous year. As compared with 490 accused arrested in 2022, the total number of arrests made by the NIA this year stood at 625 – a nearly 28% increase over the previous year. These include 65 accused arrested in ISIS cases, 114 arrested for jihadi terror cases, 45 accused of human trafficking cases, 28 accused of terrorist and organized criminal activity and 76 accused of Left-Wing Extremism (LWE) cases. 
NIA registered a total of 68 cases in 2023, covering a wide spectrum of terror related incidents. These encompass 18 Jihadi terror cases in multiple states, 03 cases from J&K, 12 cases of LWE, 07 cases involving terrorist & Organised Criminal activity in Punjab, 05 cases of the Northeast, and 02 cases related to Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN). 
The number of persons chargesheeted and convicted stood, respectively, at 513 and 74, as against 459 and 79 in 2022. The 74 accused convicted during 2023 were sentenced to various quantums of ‘Rigorous Imprisonment’ and ‘Fines’ as punishment. The agency has maintained a robust overall conviction rate of 94.70 %, underscoring the efficacy of its investigational and prosecution expertise, effectiveness and prowess.
As far as absconders go, the NIA managed to track down and arrest 47 accused in 2023, which was 14 more than last year. One of the biggest breakthroughs in this regard came with the arrest of a key absconding accused in the Attari border heroin seizure case, involving smuggling of over 102 kgs of the narcotics from Afghanistan via the India-Pak border. Also, arrests made upon deportation and extradition signify NIA’s commitment to pursuing offenders across its international borders. While Amritpal Singh @ Ammy, Amrik Singh, Manpreet Singh @Peeta and Mandeep Singh were deported from the Philippines, Vikram Brar was arrested upon deportation from the UAE.
The number of searches and raids by the NIA also recorded a significant increase over the previous year, going up from 957 in 2022 to 1040 in 2023.
In line with its targeted strategy to squeeze terror funding, and to seize properties and dismantle the terror and crime ecosystems, the NIA amplified its focus on attachment and seizure of properties and other assets accrued by criminals and terrorists through illegal and unlawful activities in a big way during the year, especially in Jammu and Kashmir. In 2022, the Agency had attached a total of 37 properties worth Rs. 10.53 crore, while in 2023, the figure went up to 240 (including 156 bank accounts) with a total value of Rs. 55.90 crore. These properties belonged to the accused and suspects involved in terrorism, LWE, explosives and other prominent cases. The attachments, made under various provisions of UA(P)A, included 12 properties (of which 04 were bank accounts), worth Rs. 1.5 crore, of six listed ‘Individual Terrorists’.
The crackdowns on violent Jihad across India proved to be a huge accomplishment for NIA during 2023, which saw several modules of the banned global ISIS being busted through nationwide raids and searches. A total of 15 accused were arrested in December, following raids at 44 locations in Maharashtra and Karnataka, which also led to the seizure of huge amounts of incriminating materials. A similar crackdown led to the arrest of 8 operatives of the ISIS Ballari module on 18th December, thus enabling the NIA to foil the banned global terrorist organisations’s plans to carry out a series of terror acts, especially IED blasts, across the country. Crackdowns were also carried out against such radicalized ISIS and HuT modules in Jabalpur and Bhopal in separate cases in September.
Dismantling of the terrorist-gangster nexus has been another priority of the NIA investigations. As part of its crackdown on this network, NIA registered two cases, charge-sheeted 55 persons, conducted 253 raids, arrested 27 persons and attached 18 properties in 2023. Further, consistent coordination with international agencies has resulted in action against foreign nodes of the Syndicate. The arrest of Deepak Ranga, the prime accused in the RPG attack on the intelligence headquarters of Punjab Police, has been one of the most significant achievements of the NIA against terrorist-gangster syndicates. Wanted in several cases of terrorism and criminal acts, Deepak Ranga was the Chief executioner of terrorist activities of Harwinder Singh Sandhu @ Rinda who is based in Pakistan and Lakhbir Singh Landa who is based in Canada- both are members of the proscribed terrorist organisation Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) and both are designated ‘Individual Terrorists’. Another significant action against the terrorist gangster syndicate was the arrest of Manpreet Peeta, the right-hand man of Designated ‘Individual Terrorist’ Arsh Dala who was running widespread terrorist and extortion activities for Arsh Dala while based in the Philippines.
Another target category for NIA during the year was Left-Wing Extremism, with massive crackdowns carried out against cadres and sympathizers of the banned CPI Maoist and People’s Liberation Front of India (PLFI). Two accused were arrested in one such crackdown, involving raids across four states in an extortion and levy collection case, on 15th December. Besides an Indian Army uniform, arms and ammunition, digital devices and documents along with gold and silver jewellery as well as cash were seized during the raids. Keeping the pressure on, the NIA filed a second Supplementary Chargesheet four days later against two more accused persons in the CPI (Maoist) terror financing network case relating to the proscribed terror outfit’s attempts to revive Naxal activities in the Magadh region of Bihar. These actions were part of NIA’s efforts to dismantle the terror Infrastructure established in the country by CPI (Maoist) to carry out activities related to terror and violence.
In a major breakthrough, NIA arrested Dinesh Gope, the PLF Supremo, a splinter group of CPI (Maoist), in May 2023. He was absconding for almost two decades and wanted in more than 150 cases of State Police as well as the NIA, and was carrying a cumulative reward of Rs 30 lakh announced by the State Police and NIA for his capture.
The year 2023 also witnessed a sharp focus by the NIA on human trafficking involving Bangladesh and Myanmar nationals at the Indo-Bangladesh border. The arrest of four more accused from Tripura in December marked a major triumph for the NIA, which had earlier, in November, arrested 29 key operatives following nationwide raids on transnational Human Trafficking Syndicates involved in the case.
In another major success for the NIA, six individuals, namely Mohammed Amin Khubaiab @ Abu Khubalab @Pinna @ Muhammed Amin Butt, Arbaz Ahmad Mir, Dr. Asif Maqbool Dar, Arshdeep Singh Gill @Arsh Dala, Harwinder Singh Sandhu @Rinda and Lakhbir Singh Landa, were designated as ‘Individual Terrorists’ by the Government of India during the year. In addition, four terrorist organisations – The Resistance Force (TRF), People’s Anti-Fascists Front (PAFF), Jammu & Kashmir Ghanzavi Force (JKGF) and Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF)) – have been banned in response to the proposal made by the NIA. The agency is actively pursuing necessary actions against these designated individuals and terrorist organisations to effectively counter their activities. 
As part of its strategy to curtail terrorist activities, NIA successfully organised the Anti-Terror Conference from 5th to 6th November 2023, demonstrating its commitment to fostering, strengthening, synchronizing and boosting the counter-terrorism response and measures across the nation. With the transforming contours of terrorism, which now encompasses new forms and methods, including cyber terror, Organised and transnational criminal networks, economic crimes and transnational terror crimes, the NIA aims to continue to enhance and expand its anti-terror strategies in the coming year.(KNS) 

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