In a bid to fortify the city against terror attacks, the Anti-terrorism squad (ATS) – the state’s premier terror fighting unit – will soon have a state-of the-art headquarter in the city.
The home ministry has cleared the proposal for the project, to be undertaken by the Maharashtra State Police Housing and Welfare Corporation Limited (MSPHC). The centre will come up at the Bawala compound in Chinchpokli, a senior official overseeing the project told Hindustan Times, requesting anonymity.
“The cost of building the anti-terrorist and counter intelligence centre will be an approximate Rs5.34 crore and the building will have a built-up area of 5,830 square metre,” the officer said. “We hope it will be completed in two years,” he added.
The official added that a nine-storey building has been proposed for the headqaurters, taking into account the requirements of the ATS. Currently, the ATS shares it’s office with Deputy Commissioner of Police - zone II and does not have an exclusive set-up of its own. The new centre is likely to have improved infrastructure and facilities such as an interrogation room and enhanced research and intelligence wings.
“We are working on acquiring various permissions required from the civic body, after which a tender will be floated for the proposal,” the officer said.
The MSPHC has already identified the architect and project management consultant, he informed. MSPHC officials are in talks with the ATS, to ensure that the project plan meets the agency’s practical requirements.
“We have requested a large and sound-proof interrogation room, as those interrogated will either be terrorists or those with links to terror outfits,” said an ATS official. The agency also wants a research wing to store detailed records of various cases in the country and abroad.
“Understanding the modus operandi used by terrorists can be crucial to solve a case, which is why we will set up a state-of-the-art office with machinery to aid investigations and help prevent terror attacks. The new office will have an enhanced intelligence wing,” the officer said.
The agency is currently investigating the 2010 German Bakery blast in Pune and the 13/7 blasts in Mumbai.
At present, the ATS has offices in Byculla, Kalachowkie, Vikhroli and Juhu. It also has units in Thane, Pune, Nagpur, Nashik and Aurangabad.