A module of terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) that was planning to target the national capital has been busted here with the arrest of two suspected terrorists, home minister P Chidambaram said on Wednesday, even as he pushed for the activating the National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC) that has been put on hold following opposition from 11 chief ministers.
"A LeT-sponsored module has been busted in Delhi in an operation jointly carried out by national agencies and a couple of state police forces. Two persons connected with the module have been arrested by the " Chidambaram said at a press conference to present his ministry's monthly report for February.
"Some other states too have detained some more persons," he said, noting that "this was an important module that planned terrorist incidents in Delhi".
He also clarified that the module was not targeting VIPs in the national capital, but was planning to carry out explosions in crowded areas of the national capital.
"It is incidents like these indicate the need for the NCTC," Chidambaram said, pointing out that home secretary RK Singh has convened a meeting of state directors general of police and anti-terror squads to arrive at a consensus on NCTC.
The centre has put on hold plans to make the NCTC, an agency under the Intelligence Bureau, operational from Thursday after it came under attack from 11 chief ministers including Gujarat's Narendra Modi, West Bengal's Mamata Banerjee, Tamil Nadu's J Jayalalithaa and Odisha's Naveen Patnaik, who questioned its sweeping powers and said it usurped the states' responsibility.
Earler in the day, Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat told IANS that "two terrorists have been arrested, but we cannot confirm which terrorist group they belong to".
One of the Delhi Police Special Cell teams reportedly received inputs from intelligence agencies of the centre and coordinated with the Jammu and Kashmir and Jharkhand police to nab the two men.
The arrested persons were presented before additional chief metropolitan Magistrate Smita Garg and were remanded to 10-day police custody.
Asked if he was confident of the NCTC getting operational anytime soon, Chidambaram said: "I am a patient man and I have been patient since May 2009 for NCTC and I will be patient for some more time."
The home minister has written to 10 of the chief ministers opposed to NCTC in its present form, assuring them the centre’s commitment to work with the states to counter terrorism.
His letter came after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh too wrote to seven chief ministers on the issue and asked the home minister to engage the dissenting state governments in a dialogue to find a way forward on NCTC.
"My note on NCTC is self-explanatory and I believe it has allayed the apprehensions. Therefore, I believe the meeting called by the home secretary will take a step forward on NCTC," Chidambaram added.