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Chidambaram justifies power to arrest for proposed NCTC

New Delhi, Wed, 29 Feb 2012 ANI

New Delhi, Feb 29 (ANI): Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Wednesday said that the proposed National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) should have the bare minimum powers, including the power to arrest, recommended by the committees to have certain operational capability while conducting a counter- terrorism operation.


"The NCTC must have a certain operational capability as recommended by the committees, which have looked into it. You need to have an operational capability while conducting a counter-terrorism operation; the section is attracted only when a counter-terrorism operation is going on," said Chidambaram, when asked about why the powers to arrest is important in case of NCTC.


" When you know that a terrorist crime has been committed or there is a design to commit a terrorist crime, at that stage if the NCTC must have a certain operational capability the bare minimum power is the power to arrest," he added.


Chidambaram further said: "And the next section says as soon as you arrest without unnecessary delay the person arrested must be handed over to the nearest police station. The next section says the Station House Officer of the police station will then take up the case under the Criminal Procedure Code. This is a bare minimum power if you agree the NCTC must have a certain operational capability while conducting a counter terrorism operation."


When asked whether the NCTC's power of right to arrest will open to judicial scrutiny, Chidambaram said: "Only the operations of the NCTC will be given the power under 43(A). And immediately after arrest, the persons has to be handed over to the nearest police station then the case will be registered in the nearest police station, You don't anticipate any legal difficulty. This has been examined carefully by the Intelligence Bureau."


The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has written to the state chief secretaries inviting them and Home Commissioners of all states along with the DGPs and heads of anti-terror organisations for a meeting on March 9 to have elaborate discussions on the states' concerns over the NCTC. The meeting will be chaired by the Union Home Secretary.


Chidambaram had earlier written to 10 chief ministers, saying countering terrorism is a shared responsibility, and the Centre will continue to work with states to fight the menace.


Several state governments, including the Trinamool Congress (TMC), which is the second largest in the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance Government (19 Members of Parliament), joined the chorus against what is being seen as an attempt to infringe upon state's rights.


The main task of the NCTC would be to ensure that the wide variety of security organizations in the country work in tandem, at least on issues related to terrorism.


It will also have the power to seek information, including documents, reports, transcripts, and cyber information from any agency, including from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), National Investigation Agency, National Technical Research Organization, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence and all seven central armed police forces including the National Security Guard (NSG).


The body, which will function under the Intelligence Bureau, has been given its own operational wing with powers to arrest and conduct searches under Section 43A of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. (ANI)


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