With the UPA government all set to approve the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) under the home ministry, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) on Wednesday conveyed its serious concerns over creation of the separate parallel agency with almost similar mandate on counter-terrorism.
Top government sources said that according to the NCTC note sent to the Union cabinet, the new agency will be kept outside the IB purview - minus the controversial mandate of State Intelligence Support Teams for search, seizure and arrests - unless the circumstances are exceptional and require immediate action.
The NCTC will have a director of the rank of special secretary/ director general of police with a fixed tenure of two years and report to the home ministry. He will head the NCTC council comprising representatives from all the states with rank equivalent to the DGP.
According to the proposal in circulation, the NCTC will be empowered to utilise the resources of IB in the states. This means that the subsidiary intelligence bureaus will also do intelligence collection and provide logistical support for the NCTC.
The IB, however, has seriously objected to the creation of a parallel body as it feel the move is a way to dilute the powers of the Director Intelligence Bureau (DIB) and reduce the only four star police officer with status equivalent to the Indian Army Chief to a mere Director General of Police.
The DIB with a fixed two-year tenure is the senior-most police officer in the country with the oldest intelligence agency in the world, with counter-terrorism as part of its mandate.
When P Chidambaram as home minister had conceived the NCTC proposal in December 2009, he had proposed that the new agency would come under the IB - with operational powers to search, seizure and arrest.
Chidambaram's NCTC was in many ways an expansion of the multi-agency centre within the IB with its operational wing being used to arrest terrorists in the states. But later, the operational part was shot down by many state chief ministers because law and order is a state subject.
The IB's argument against the NCTC is that there is no point in duplicating its own counter-terrorism efforts using the same security architecture. However, home minister Sushil Shinde believes that though it will have NCTC should be a separate organisation and perhaps set up the National Intelligence Agency and National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) at a latter stage.