NCTC won't be controlled by IB

Centre gives in to pressure from states

Bowing to pressure from the states, a revised draft prepared by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on setting up controversial National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) suggests that the apex terror fighting body will not function under the Intelligence Bureau (IB). 

A pet project of home minister P Chidambaram, the initial proposal to give birth to the NCTC had courted controversy owing to strong resistance from the states, including West Bengal, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat. The states were of the view that the NCTC was vested with powers that undermine their say in the law and order situation and compromise the federal structure of the parliamentary democracy.

The MHA has also agreed to the states’ other demand of being equal partner in conducting operations after NCTC gets intelligence input on suspected terror activities. The operations will be conducted jointly by the NCTC officials and state police. Only in rare cases, where there is no time to wait for action, NCTC will go ahead solo, said a senior MHA officer. 
The new draft has been circulated to the members of the Cabinet Committee on Security, headed by Prime Minister and includes ministers of defence and external affairs. Most likely, the new draft will be taken up for discussion and cleared by the CCS after the Presidential election which is to be held on July 19.

The home ministry had earlier passed an ordinance making the new anti-terror body as a nodal organisation under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

It is learnt that new draft proposes that NCTC, which will be headed by an Additional Director officer taken on deputation from the IB but he would report to the union Home secretary.

Even the external spying agency, RAW, had raised objections at the highest level against the move to bring the Council under the IB. The DGPs of the states will also be represented in the NCTC which will have powers search and seizure powers.

  However, the ministry believes that there is no need to take a feed back of the states on the new draft which ones cleared by the CCS will be executed through an executive order. This is slight deviation from one of the states’ demand which said that UPA government should establish NCTC through an act of parliament as they did with National Investigation Agency.

The earlier proposal had envisaged that the Multi Agency Centre (MAC), which handles information coming from various sources and forwards to appropriate agency for action, and the IB’s operations wing would be attached to the NCTC.
Now the MAC will be merged with the NCTC.

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