Faced with near-universal opposition from states to the concept of federal offences that will be investigated by a federal agency, the Centre on Thursday signalled it was willing to back down and settle for a more politically correct mechanism to enable central agencies probe serious crimes like terrorist attacks.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hinted at the change of stance at Thursday’s conference of chief ministers on internal security when he asked states to consider the issue of investigation and prosecution of cases of terror having inter-state or international linkages in a pragmatic manner.
Singh said the government was not talking about specifying any crimes as ‘federal crimes’ to be investigated by a federal agency.
“The suggestion is to set up a consultative mechanism to decide on a case-to-case basis whether investigations need to be done by a designated agency. Or have collaborative arrangements in the framework of a concurrent jurisdiction,” he said, urging chief ministers to consider these options seriously.
The concept of notifying selected crimes with inter-state or international linkages as federal offences – to be investigated by a central agency – had been mooted by the BJP-led coalition at the Centre.