CHENNAI: The National Investigation Agency (NIA), the premier counter-terrorism task force in India, is caught in a long battle with the Tamil Nadu government to obtain ‘police station’ status for its Chennai branch office to register FIRs for the cases they are taking up from here.
The agency is currently investigating 14 cases from Tamil Nadu, all of which are registered in other NIA branches.
Though it is empowered under the written proclamation from the Ministry of Home Affairs to investigate terror-related cases across the country without specific permission from State governments, it still requires the State’s nod to establish a police station and register FIRs under the provisions of the CrPC.
Just before the Assembly elections, the agency had set up its branch office in Purasaiwalkam in April 2021 and also appointed an SP rank officer to head its operations in Tamil Nadu. However, the office has not been formally inaugurated because the branch has so far not received the sanction to function as a police station from the Tamil Nadu government.
The Chennai branch of the agency would have full prosecution powers of a police station and be able to register cases here only after the branch office gets its mandatory go-ahead from the State government. Until then, cases investigated by the Chennai team will be registered in Delhi, sources said.
When asked, a State government official admitted that NIA’s request to grant permission for its Chennai branch to function as a police station was pending with the government despite repeated reminders. The official added that it was ‘under process’.