IB will need to justify arrests under NCTC

The Intelligence Bureau (IB) may be exposed to the direct scrutiny of the courts while operating the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) and making arrests on terror-related cases.

The NCTC will bring IB “in direct contact” with the courts as it will have to  justify the arrests to the courts of the country. The NCTC is located in the IB and headed by an additional director of the intelligence agency.  

Sources in the Union Home Ministry told Deccan Herald that the counter-terrorism body may not be functional by next month as the date of DGPs and Chief Secretaries meet, called by the Union Home Ministry, could not be  finalised.

Sources said a meeting is possible only after March 7 or 8 following the poll results in UP on March 6 and the festival of Holi thereafter.  “The state civil and police officials will come with a brief of their respective states on the NCTC which would be discussed to reach a compromise on the powers of the anti-terror body,” they said. The deliberations will be presided over by Home Secretary R K Singh. Home Minister P Chidambaram will not address the meet.

The NCTC is unlikely to be operational immediately after this meeting as a political whetting of the NCTC’s powers is expected to take place in the chief ministers conference here in April.    

Sources said there is need to ally the apprehensions of the states on NCTC’s powers to make arrests under the Provisions of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967 and seek confidential information from states, organizations and individuals. The NCTC will have powers to set up inter-state intelligence support teams (Insist) and can make arrest and search under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967.

The anti-terror body will have overriding powers when it comes to demanding any information from any agency in the country as also to requisition any special force, including National Security Guard, in the country.

Expanding the reach and powers of the NCTC, the Centre has made it obligatory for all civil authorities in India and those working outside India to “act in the aid of the NCTC”. A standing council of NCTC will have effective control of all counter-terror measures . The council will have Director NCTC, three Joint-Directors, NCTC, and heads of anti-terror organisation or force in each state .

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