In the letter, Kerala Chief Minister, has argued that the case does not have the gravity of the offence of high degree that requires a take over by the NIA.

CM Pinarayi writes to Amit Shah wants Alan-Thaha UAPA case transferred back to Kerala
news UAPA Thursday, February 06, 2020 - 09:46

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday wrote to Amit Shah requesting that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) hand over the Pantheerankavu UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act) case back to the Kerala police. 

The UAPA case against 20-year-old Alan Shuhaib and 24-year-old Thaha Fasal, accused of distributing pro-Maoist pamphlets in Kozhikode, was being investigated by the Kerala police, until the Ministry of Home Affairs issued a notification on December 16, 2019, that the NIA will be taking over the probe.

In his letter, the Kerala Chief Minister argues that the case lacks a gravity of offence which is of a high degree requiring a take over by the NIA. 

"Statement of Objects and Reasons of the NIA Act states that the act is envisaged to deal with the cases that involve "complex, inter-state and international linkages, and possible connection with other activities like smuggling of arms and drugs, pushing in and circulation of fake Indian currency, infiltration from across the borders etc.” None of these ingredients mentioned in the Statement of Objects and Reasons mentioned in the NIA Act, 2008, appears to be relevant in the instant case," Pinarayi argued. 

The Chief Minister supported this argument with a Bombay High Court judgement in Pragyasingh Chandrapalsingh Thakur vs State of Maharashtra 2013. The judgement asks the Central Government to determine whether the offence is a scheduled offence by "recording its opinion of the offence which is committed and mentioned in the State Government's report or information received from other sources."

The judgement also asks the Central government to apply its mind to "the gravity of the offence and other relevant factors" and not direct the NIA to investigate the case merely because it is a "scheduled offence." 

"The word gravity is used advisedly because the scheduled offence is grave enough for the NIA to step in, it is because it is not only grave and serious, but because it has such repercussions and ramifications which affect the sovereignty, security and integrity of India, security of State, friendly relations with foreign States and offences under the Acts enacted to implement international treaties, agreements, conventions and resolutions of the United Nations, its agencies and other international organizations and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto," Pinarayi said, quoting the judgement and concluding that the offence in the Pantheerankavu UAPA case lacks the gravity of offence which necessitates take over by the NIA.

Pinarayi also added that both the ruling and opposition parties in Kerala were of the view that the case should be investigated by the Kerala police and not the NIA. He added that the legal advice that was given to the Kerala government also favoured retaining the case with the Kerala police.

"Considering the facts and circumstances stated above, I request you to kindly give appropriate directions and grant approval to the National Investigation Agency for handing over the case back to the Kerala Police to carry on with the investigations which were being effectively carried out," the letter concluded.