The home ministry's move to convene a meeting of chief secretaries and police chiefs to bridge differences with states on conferring powers of arrest on the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) is heading for another controversy.
Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday complained to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about the March 9 meeting convened by home secretary RK Singh, urging him to convene a meeting of chief ministers to discuss the issues raised by them.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, Patnaik -who was the first to complain against the anti-terror body has since been opposed by a dozen CMs - said he was "disappointed" that the home secretary had convened a meeting on issues "which require deliberation with us at the highest level".
Home Minister P Chidambaram, who had tried to reach out to the chief ministers worried about the NCTC encroaching their powers - suggested the meeting convened by the home secretary was the starting point.
"I am confident that this meeting will find a way forward. My note is self explanatory. I think the note should, I believe, have allayed many of the apprehensions including apprehensions of a section of the media and therefore let us hope that the meeting convened by the HS will find a way forward," Chidambaram said.
The home minister emphasised that the powers of arrest was the bare minimum that the NCTC should have if it had to have a certain operational capability.
Chidambaram indicated that the NCTC would be expected to invoke the powers of arrest in a limited number of cases where there were constraints of time or the security situation was not comfortable.