NIA shifts its office to Begumpet

Hyderabad, December 31: Virtually ‘caught’ in the midst of software firms and techies at the Raheja IT Park, the elite National Investigation Agency (NIA) has decided to move its field office to a more secure, hassle-free and accessible place and has zeroed in on Begumpet.

Working from the second floor of Maximus 2B Tower, Raheja IT Park at Gachibowli, the NIA is finding it difficult to maintain secrecy over its operations, especially with regard to interrogation of terror suspects. Further, it finds the office not easily accessible and risky for the IT firms in the area.

It is learnt that even the software companies are heaving a sigh of relief after knowing about the move.

Top government sources told Express that after realising that it was getting inconvenient to function from the Raheja IT Park, a proposal was sent to the NIA headquarters in New Delhi seeking permission and sanction of funds to move to a ‘better’ place, away from IT firms.

After receiving the nod from the headquarters, the NIA officials began scouting for a location where they could have their own building. They shortlisted four places and, finally, decided on this complex in a lane opposite to a famous shopping mall in Begumpet. The ‘puja’ was performed there and the entire office will shift to the new location by tomorrow.

The office of the Special Intelligence Bureau (SIB), Octopus (from where Greyhounds used to function earlier) and Task Force have their offices in the busy Begumpet area.

Sources said functioning from the Raheja IT Park location was becoming difficult for various reasons among which was the inconvenience being faced by software firms which were not to keen to have a police office, that too dealing with terrorists, in their neighbourhood. “It did not gel well – the IT companies and the NIA office. Moreover, the NIA staff, who have been drawn from various other police organisations, have been finding it difficult to commute. One has to work in an atmosphere of secrecy and privacy which was missing there,” they said.

Recently, the NIA officials have taken up the investigation of a conspiracy case involving an alleged Lashkar-e-Tayyaba militant, Zia Ul Haq, accused of hurling a hand grenade in Odeon theatre in May 2006. The NIA officials had also taken him into their custody for interrogation and reportedly kept him in the Raheja IT Park office.

“The NIA needs to carry out investigations in several terror cases and suspects will have to be brought to their office. This could also pose a threat to the software companies which are all over the place,” an official said. Besides AP, the NIA’s field office in Hyderabad has jurisdiction over Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra.

Apart from the on-going investigation involving Zia Ul Haq, who received arms training in Pakistan, the NIA is already probing six terror-related cases of Kerala and two from Goa.