New Delhi: Lok Sabha on Monday passed the National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2019, but not without its due share of debate, discussions and attacks.

The National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2019 seeks to strengthen the NIA to be able to probe matters of offences committed outside India against Indian citizens or those affecting interests of India. The amendments will allow the NIA probe cybercrimes and cases of human trafficking also.

The NIA was set up in 2009 in the wake of the Mumbai terror attack that had claimed 166 lives. Since 2017, the Union Home Ministry has been pushing for giving more power to the NIA to meet fresh challenges.

Amid all this, the House was agog with sharp exchanges between All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaddudin Owaisi and Home Minister Amit Shah over the Bill.

The spat between the two leaders began when opposition members including Owaisi started interrupting BJP MP Satyapal Singh. Owaisi objected to the claim by Singh that a state leader had asked the then Hyderabad Police Commissioner to change the course of probe in a particular case. Singh said he knew it because he was then posted as Police Commissioner of Mumbai.

Owaisi strongly objected to this and demanded for all records related to the case to be placed before the House. On this, Amit Shah stood up at his seat and said that the treasury bench had not disturbed members of the opposition party when they spoke and hence they should also be not disturbed. Shah said, “Sunne ki bhi aadat daliye Owaisi Sahab, iss tarah se nahi chalega. Sunna padega.”

This seemed to have provoked Owaisi as he asked the Home Minister not to point fingers at him as he cannot be frightened. But Shah hit back saying he was not trying to frighten him and rather just stating that Opposition leaders should have the patience to listen to the counter-view.

“When you have fear in mind what can I do,” said Shah.

Speaking to the media outside the Parliament, Owaisi remarked, “Whoever doesn’t support their (BJP) decisions, they call them anti-nationals. Have they opened shop of nationals and anti-nationals? Amit Shah threatens us by raising his finger but he is just a Home Minister, not God. He should read rules first.”

The Lok Sabha later passed the National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2019 that allows NIA to probe terror cases targeting Indians and Indian assets abroad. Responding to concern over possible misuse of the terror law, Shah assured the House that the bill was aimed only at eliminating terrorism.

With IANS inputs