'Centre being formed under existing laws'

 The government on Friday made it clear that the National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC) — the anti-terror body — is being formed under the existing laws under which several other investigating agencies are also functional.

The NCTC will have power to arrest and search under the already operative Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. The Act was amended by the UPA government to check “terrorism” after the allegedly draconian anti-terror law POTA enacted by the NDA government was annulled.

Responding to the Opposition’s criticism that the NCTC will interfere with the authority of the states, Union Home Secretary R K Singh said the NCTC is in the national interest and there was no need to consult the states prior to notification of the body as it was being established under the existing laws.

The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, was operational for several years and many central agencies, including the recently formed National Investigation Agency, are operating under its provisions.

“The NCTC is being formed for better coordination among the agencies to fight terror better. We are not passing any new legislation. The sections which have been quoted have been on the statute for the past six seven years.

“It is not any new provisions of law or anything like that. That Act has been on the statute book for many years. There should not be any controversy,” Singh  added.

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