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Chidambaram gets his Counter-Terrorism Centre but a toothless one

Last updated on: January 13, 2012 14:07 IST

Chidambaram gets his Counter-Terrorism Centre but a toothless one

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A Correspondent

The National Counter-Terrorism Centre, a pet project of Home Minister P Chidambaram since he took over after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, has finally taken shape as an apex-coordinating agency but without its own sleuths or investigation wing to probe the terror activities.

The Cabinet Committee on Security, headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, gave a nod to set up the centre after an hour-long meeting on Thursday. It will have no powers to investigate except to streamline all terror-related intelligence, analyse and provide it to concerned agencies, official sources said.

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It actually takes over the job so far performed by the Intelligence Bureau, which coordinated with all other agencies besides carrying out its own investigations. It will, however, not investigate.

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Image: Home Minister P Chidambaram


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Chidambaram gets his Counter-Terrorism Centre but a toothless one

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The role of the National Counter-Terrorism Centre is limited to coordinating with agencies like the Intelligence Bureau, Research and Analysis Wing, Joint Intelligence Committee, Military Intelligence and state intelligence agencies to collate the information gathered by them and disseminate it for quick action on the ground to prevent the terror attacks.

Chidambaram's idea was to have a mechanism for counter-terrorism on the lines of the one with immense powers created by the United States after 9/11, but the proposed centre was scaled down because of strong protests by the intelligence agencies who are always reluctant to share its own intelligence with others. Moreover, the IB feared the NCTC will take credit for all the work done by them.

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Image: The US set up a powerful counter-terrorism center after 9/11


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Chidambaram gets his Counter-Terrorism Centre but a toothless one

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There is already a multi-agency body functioning at the Centre which collates information and coordinates with some two dozen central agencies and almost 500 state agencies involved in counter-terror activities. It would be now subsumed into the NCTC.

Officials said the NCTC will not have any foot soldiers to collect information, but will depend on other agencies. It will come up through an executive order soon, unlike the National Intelligence Agency constituted through an Act of Parliament. It will be headed by an additional director general level police officer, who will report to the Union home secretary.

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Image: NCTC will report to Union Home Secretary RK Singh


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