The Centre is considering steps to build political consensus on the proposed National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) by sharing the power to arrest suspects with the state police forces.
The NCTC, the cornerstone of India’s new anti-terror architecture proposed after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, has so far been in a limbo, as several states and the BJP oppose it on the ground that its power to make arrests impinges on the states’ powers.
As home minister, P Chidambaram insisted on the NCTC’s power to make arrests, but the impossibility of gathering political support for it and the necessity for the new mechanism prompted the government for a rethink.
A senior government functionary said the NCTC’s powers could be toned down without the anti-terror body losing control of the situation.
Highly placed sources told HT that the first draft on the toned down NCTC was ready for home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde for his discussions with chief ministers.
Shinde had promised to consult CMs after four low-intensity bombs went off in Pune on August 1 — the day he took over the home ministry.
The political opposition to the NCTC also comes from the fact that it would be housed within the Intelligence Bureau, which often carries out what it calls “joint operations” with the state intelligence units.
The new thinking was reflected in Shinde’s recent statement in Parliament that the government was willing to make amends to make the counter-terror body acceptable to states. Leader of opposition Arun Jaitley requested the government to keep in mind India’s federal character while making anti-terror policies.