New Delhi: India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA), established after the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attack, may soon deal with cases related to the Maoist insurgency, two government officials said.

Wider role: A file photo of a Maoist patrol. Cases relating to Maoists, now probed by police or CBI, are likely to see NIA investigations. By Indranil Bhoumik/Mint

“The home ministry is actively considering to widen NIA’s ambit," a government official said.

The ministry, which oversees the work of the agency, has also asked it to recruit investigators instead of poaching from agencies such as Intelligence Bureau and the CBI.

“They are supposed to create additional expertise in terms of investigation and prosecution of the cases," another government official said. “They have been asked to hire fresh talent. Else, they are just weakening the existing state infrastructure and resources." Both bureaucrats spoke on condition of anonymity. The increased scope of the NIA would require more resources. It has already drafted its second “prospective plan" for expansion, the second official said. “They (NIA) have proposed to increase their strength from nearly 350 to 950," he said.

NIA has a sanctioned strength of 609 people, of which about 350 posts are filled and about 40-50 people are at the induction stage.

More cases related to terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir will be handed over to NIA in the near future, the first official said. “As of now, they only have two-three cases in Jammu and Kashmir."The NIA has branches in New Delhi, Hyderabad and Guwahati and separate special cells that deal with fake currency and terrorist funding, an official at the agency said, requesting anonymity. The unit has an in-principle nod to open a centre in Mumbai, said the second official cited earlier. “It is (also) becoming important with time to have a full-fledged bureau in Kochi," the official said. “Cases are on the rise and need experts to investigate them."

sahil.m@livemint.com

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