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Aloke Tikku, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, November 26, 2012
Mumbai terror convict Ajmal Kasab was executed this week. But the debate over who should foot the bill for keeping him alive till then, lives on. The Centre, which had decided to deploy Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) commandos to guard Kasab, is yet to take a decision on waiving the bill sent to the Maharashtra government.

Maharashtra home minister RR Patil had, on Thursday, reiterated that the state government should not be made to pay for Kasab's ITBP security. The ITBP — which deployed about 170 commandos in March 2009 — had spent nearly Rs. 30 crore on them. A government source said on Friday that New Delhi was wary of wiping out the outstanding dues in a hurry.

Nevertheless, the home ministry is likely to think twice before carrying out its threat and adjust the dues from earmarked allocations to the state. There is a strong possibility that the issue could blow up in its face in such an eventuality.

However, Maharashtra is not the only ‘victim’ of this home ministry ruling. It has asked many other states to shell out a whopping Rs. 8,700 crore for central forces sent to fight naxals, quell communal riots or protect important installations and individuals. But the Kasab debate has convinced a growing section within the Centre that it is unfair to make the states pay for trying to secure the lives of its people.