New Delhi: The National Investigation Agency (NIA), set up to try terror cases, was left red-faced when the Union Home Ministry asked it to stay away from a case pertaining to the bail application of Indian Mujahideen (IM) operatives in the Delhi High Court.
Trying to settle the issue that arose after the NIA counsel stepped in during the hearing on bail application of Syed Maqbool and Imran Khan, two alleged Indian Mujahideen operatives arrested in 2012, and submitted before the Delhi High court all the departmental communication between the Delhi Police and the NIA.
The Union Home Ministry on Friday held a meeting of Special Cell officials and the NIA during which it was pointed out that the order of transferring the case to the NIA had been kept in abeyance on March 13 and the NIA counsel exceeded his brief and appeared in the case before the High Court, official sources said.
After the Delhi Police`s Special Cell had arrested the two for their alleged involvement in Dilsukhnagar blasts in Hyderabad in 2013, the NIA approached the Union Home Ministry seeking directions for handing over of the case to it as it was a `federal agency` entrusted to probe cases pertaining to terrorism.
However, the move was opposed by the Delhi Police which claimed they had made substantiative progress in the case and they should be allowed to continue. However, at that point, the Home Ministry had ignored the Delhi Police plea and handed over the case to the NIA.
The NIA, as was mentioned during the meeting, did not send anyone to collect the details of the case including the case diary and during the course of investigations, the Delhi Police filed the chargesheet, the sources said.
Later, the NIA never raised the issue till February this year when the bail application of the two accused came up before the High Court. Both the NIA and the Delhi police were made party in the application.
The matter was brought before the Union Home Ministry which ruled that the case should remain with the Delhi Police and its earlier order of transfer to the NIA was kept in abeyance on March 13, the sources said.
The NIA, as per the sources, had no defence when confronted with the fact that its counsel had opened the inter-departmental communication before the High court, the sources said.
The move had led to an angry remark from the High Court which asked Secretary of the Union Home Ministry Anil Goswami to appear in person on April 24 to explain which agency is actually investigating the "larger conspiracy" of the Indian Mujahideen to carry out terror attacks.
The court had also pulled up the two agencies for "wasting precious time of the court".
Syed Maqbool and Imran Khan were arrested in October 2012 and are accused in the blasts at Dilsukhnagar, Hyderabad, and the German Bakery, Pune. They had filed bail applications last year.