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NCTC won’t be operationalised on March 1: Govt

The government on Monday said that the National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC) will not be operationalised on March 1.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: The government on Monday said that the National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC) will not be operationalised on March 1.

The announcement, made in a statement issued by the Home Ministry, came days after several states opposed the anti-terror body claiming it is against the federal structure.

The appointments of the Director and three joint
Directors of NCTC have also been
put on hold.

Union Home Secretary will invite Chief Secretaries and
Home Commissioners of all states along with the DGPs and heads
of anti-terror organisations for a meeting, possibly on March
10, to "discuss in detail the scope and functions of the
NCTC", Home Ministry sources said.

Following the objections, Home Minister P Chidambaram had written to 10 non-Congress Chief Ministers saying the Centre will discuss in detail the "scope and functions" of the proposed NCTC with states.

In identical letters to Chief Ministers including those of Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Bihar and West Bengal, Chidambaram said a meeting of heads of police and anti-terror bodies of state governments will be convened by the Union Home Secretary to “discuss in detail the scope and functions of the National Centre for Counter Terrorism”.

The Chief Ministers have been stoutly opposing the powers to arrest and search vested with the NCTC but the Home Minister told them that these are "bare minimum powers" that would be necessary.

"When engaged in counter-terrorism operations, the officers must have the power to arrest and the power to search which are the bare minimum powers that would be necessary," he said in a note along with the letter where he elaborated the genesis, objectives, structure and powers of the NCTC and asked the Chief Ministers to carefully consider it.

Besides, he said, the powers conferred under Section 43(A) of the UA(P) Act must be read with the duty under Section 43 (B) to produce the person or article without unnecessary delay before the nearest police station (which will be under the state government), and the SHO of the police station will take further action in accordance with the provisions of the CrPC.

Section 43 (A) dealing with the powers to arrest and search is a major irritant for the Chief Ministers as they believe that it would infringe on the state`s powers.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had conveyed her serious reservations on NCTC powers to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The Prime Minister`s Office had said that Singh had asked the Home Minister to address the concerns raised by the Chief Ministers.

Chidambaram in his letter told the Chief Ministers that it was a "matter of national importance and should be kept above party politics".

(With PTI inputs)

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