The National Investigating Agency (NIA), formed in the aftermath of the November 26, 2008, attacks in Mumbai with a specific mandate to combat terror in the country, is yet to find an office for itself in the financial capital despite the city being attacked again on July 13 last year.
Sources in the NIA say that two sites - one at Worli and the other on the top floor of MTNL building at Peddar Road - are under consideration, but none has been finalised so far. "The deal for renting the office at Worli has been nearly fixed but there has been no decision on shifting to it," an NIA official said. The agency has three offices across the country - the headquarters at Delhi and two branches at Hyderabad and Guwahati.
The National Investigation Agency Bill to create the agency was moved in the Parliament by the Union home ministry in December 2008. It has since been investigating several terror-related cases based out of Mumbai, including the 2006 and 2008 Malegaon blasts, and a fake currency case registered by the state anti-terrorism squad (ATS) in May 2009.
There are also talks of shifting the 13/7 probe to the NIA if the ATS fails to nab the culprits.
Despite that, however, the agency is operating out of makeshift locations. "The [NIA] officers who come to Mumbai stay in the Worli IPS officers' mess, while the case papers are lying in a small room at the public prosecutor's office in the city civil and sessions court at Fort," the officer said.
The officer added the Union ministry of home affairs, which oversees NIA's affairs, has asked the state government for help, but the issue is hanging fire due to lack of coordination between the central and various state government departments.