Centre climbs down on NCTC; state DG to be informed on operations

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After the Cabinet Committee on Security’s approval, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde will hold talks with all Chief Ministers who have been opposing the NCTC in its present form. Photo: PTI

New Delhi, Feb 26 (PTI): In an attempt to reach out to the states on controversial NCTC, the Centre has climbed down from its position and proposed that chief of a state police will be informed before conducting any anti-terror operation.

The central government has also proposed that NCTC be out of the ambit of the Intelligence Bureau and will be an independent entity directly reporting to the Home Ministry.

A highly-placed source said the Home Ministry has prepared a note on NCTC incorporating the two vital points and will be placed in the next meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The softening of the Centre’s stand came as non-Congress Chief Ministers continue to oppose the earlier proposal which allows central sleuths to carry out operations anywhere in the country without informing a state concerned.

Under the Centre’s revised proposal, the DGP of a concerned state has to be informed before conducting any operations.

According to the earlier proposal, the Multi-Agency Centre and the operations wing of the IB were earmarked for carrying out anti-terror operations on its own and inform or hand over any detained suspect to the nearest police station as early as possible and the anti-terror hub would function under the Intelligence Bureau.

These two issues of the NCTC were strongly opposed by Chief Ministers like Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal), Narendra Modi (Gujarat), J Jayalalithaa (Tamil Nadu) and Naveen Patnaik (Odisha) alleging it would infringe on the states’ powers and hurt the country’s federal structure.

After the CCS approval, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde will hold talks with all Chief Ministers who have been opposing the NCTC in its present form.

Sources said the twin blasts in Hyderabad has given the Centre’s initiative an added sense of urgency to restart negotiations with states for setting up the NCTC, a pet project of former Home Minister P Chidambaram.

The Home Minister may hold separate meetings with the Chief Ministers seeking to allay their apprehensions and apprise them of the revised plan for the anti-terror hub.

An earlier meeting of chief ministers, convened by Chidambaram, had failed to evolve a consensus on NCTC.

Sushilkumar Shinde is believed to have discussed the issue with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, a key opponent of the project, during his two-day visit to the state from Sunday.

Shinde today stressed that the Centre was keen to introduce the NCTC to firmly deal with terrorism and said Banerjee has a ‘positive mind’ towards the issue.

“I had talked to her earlier also on the NCTC issue.

She has a positive mind (Unka toh man hai),” Shinde told reporters when asked if he discussed the issue with the Chief Minister at a meeting at Fraserganj in South 24-Parganas district.

The Home Ministry had readied an ordinance in February last year making the new anti-terror body a nodal organisation under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

But it was deferred indefinitely in the face of opposition by the states.

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