Former Law minister and BJP general secretary Arun Jaitely said his party would back the UPA’s two new anti-terror bills though they are “incomplete and reluctant” steps to combat terrorism.
He said the BJP wished Home Minister P. Chidambaram had succeeded in convincing his Cabinet colleagues in incorporating the provision in the amendments to the Unlawful Activities Act for admissibility of confessions as evidence. “As a nationalist party, we will support the incomplete steps while pointing out their lacunae” to combat terrorism.”
“Chidambaram’s efforts... in the Cabinet did not succeed because of politics and what has been presented before us falls short of our expectations. Nevertheless, we will support the bills and are happy that our sustained campaign for a special law to investigate and prosecute has got reluctant recognition by the UPA government after Mumbai’s 26/11,” he said.
Jaitely said while bail provisions had been tightened as in the case of POTA, but by not allowing for admission of confessions as evidence, “the tracing of the Karachi limb of the Mumbai 26/11 attacks as told to police by the lone surviving terrorist, Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab” had been made more difficult.
He said such provisions presently exist in MCOCA, Organised Crime Laws of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. “They existed earlier in Tada and Pota and their constitutional validity was upheld by the Supreme Court.”
He said an identical provision existed in Section 18 of the NDPS Act. “The confession of a drug peddler is admissible but not that of a terrorist. That is not an acceptable situation.”