Top civil, police officials’ meet on NCTC tomorrow

Last Updated: Sunday, March 11, 2012 - 10:27

New Delhi: Amid escalating row over the
Centre`s proposal for NCTC, top Home Ministry officials will
try to allay apprehensions about the anti-terror body at a
crucial meeting of chief secretaries and police chiefs of all
states here on Monday.

During the meeting, Home Ministry officials led by Home
Secretary RK Singh will try to explain the scope and
functions of the National Counter Terrorism Centre and make it
clear that the proposed anti-terror hub will not infringe on
the states` power.

However, the meeting is unlikely to cut any ice as non-
Congress chief ministers, who strongly objected to setting up
of NCTC -- a brain-child of Home Minister P Chidambaram --
have been demanding discussions on the issue at the political
level.

Over a dozen chief ministers have opposed the creation of
NCTC on the ground that it would hurt the federal structure of
the country.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Tamil Nadu Chief
Minister J Jayalalitha had asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
to convene a meeting of chief ministers to discuss the issue.

In all probability, NCTC will be the top agenda at the
scheduled meeting of chief ministers to be held here on April
16 if no headway is made in tomorrow`s meeting.

In the wake of strong protests by non-Congress chief
ministers, the Centre has put on hold the operationalisation
of the NCTC from March 1 and decided to discuss with the state
governments before going ahead with the plan.

Home Ministry officials are expecting participation of
all states in the meeting. However, it is to be seen whether
non-Congress-ruled states send their representatives,
considering their objection to official level meeting.

In his letter to 10 chief ministers, Home Minister P
Chidambaram had assured that the "next steps" on NCTC would be
taken only after the meeting of top officials of the states.

The Home Ministry officials are expected to allay the
apprehensions of the states which said empowering NCTC
with Section 43 (A) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention)
Act would infringe on the state`s powers. Section 43(A) of
UA(P)A gives an officer power to arrest and search.

Chidambaram in his letter had 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).

He also said the SHO of the police station will take
further action in accordance with the provisions of the CrPC.

Patnaik, who spearheaded the protests on the ground that
it would erode states` powers, in his third letter on NCTC to
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, had opposed the meeting of
officials.

"It is imperative that instead of a meeting chaired by
the Union Home Secretary, an immediate meeting of chief
ministers may be called by you to address the concerns of the
states on this very urgent matter regarding the security of
the nation," he told the prime minister.

Jayalalitha and Janata Dal-U, which rules Bihar, had also
expressed similar sentiments.

The crucial meeting was originally scheduled on March 9
but postponed to March 12 following requests from several
states which had conveyed their inability to attend the
meeting due to Holi festival, short notice and pre-scheduled
engagements.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, March 11, 2012 - 10:27

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