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Centre to decide on federal crimes

delhi Updated: Feb 26, 2013 02:44 IST
Aloke Tikku
Aloke Tikku
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Five days after two bombs rocked Hyderabad, the UPA government will take a call on creating a distinct set of "federal crimes" that could straightaway be investigated by a central agency.

The Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by Defence Minister AK Antony is also expected to firmly put a lid on recurring demands for repeal or amendment of the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act that is in force in Jammu & Kashmir and the Northeast.

A panel of secretaries headed by National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon has rejected demands for repeal to AFSPA, pointing that there was a need to give protection to the army deployed on counter-insurgency duties in the northeast.

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The report of the Menon panel which will be placed before the GoM, however, had skipped a recommendation on the politically sensitive recommendation of the Administrative Reforms Commission on federal crimes. The urgency of a decision on this issue is palpable since the last meeting of the Antony panel was held way back in July 2012.

Headed by Veerappa Moily, the 2nd ARC had advocated creating a separate set of offences with inter-state or national ramification that could include terrorism, sedition, major crimes, assassination of public figures and serious economic offences in this category.

The Home Ministry had introduced the concept of federal offences through the back door after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks when Parliament set up the National Investigation Agency. The NIA has the powers to unilaterally take up terror-related cases in exceptional circumstances but the home ministry has rarely invoked this power.