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Controversial NCTC may take some more time

Source: PTI
October 19, 2012 19:50 IST
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The controversial National Counter Terrorism Centre, a pet project of former Home Minister P Chidambaram, may take some more time to actualise with his successor Sushilkumar Shinde directing ministry officials to wait till Parliament approves the proposed amendment to the anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Shinde has conveyed to home ministry officials that efforts to bring a consensus on setting up of NCTC, which has faced strong opposition from several states, should be made only after Parliament approves the proposed amendment in Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

With the amendment, the government intends to make UA(P)A more effective in preventing unlawful financial activities, money laundering, terror financing and circulation of Fake Indian Currency Notes and term such acts as terror activities.

The proposals on UA(P)A were approved by the Union Cabinet after taking nod from all states but could not be introduced in Monsoon session of Parliament due to disruption of House proceedings. The bill is expected to be tabled in winter session of Parliament beginning next month.

Sources said though Shinde, who was given a thorough presentation on the NCTC, was initially inclined to hold a conference of chief ministers to allay their apprehensions and apprise them of the revised plan for the anti-terror hub, but later he appears to have changed his mind.

"There is no movement on NCTC. We have been told to wait till UAP(A) is amended," a source said.

Those who opposed the NCTC include Chief Ministers Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal), Naveen Patnaik (Odisha), J Jayalalitha (Tamil Nadu) and Narendra Modi (Gujarat).

They had claimed that such a body armed with overarching powers will hurt the federal structure of the country.

So far, Shinde has not discussed with any chief minister the issue of National Counter Terrorism Centre.

After taking over the charge of the Home Ministry, Shinde had said he would like to discuss with the chief ministers before making the NCTC operational.

According to the new plan, NCTC will be kept out of the ambit of the Intelligence Bureau and will be an independent entity directly reporting to the Home Ministry.

Besides, the anti-terror body will conduct operations on its own only if there is an urgency or in rare cases.

An earlier meeting of chief ministers, convened under the aegis of Chidambaram, had failed to evolve consensus on NCTC.

According to the earlier proposal, the Multi-Agency Centre and the operations wing of the IB were earmarked for NCTC and the Home Ministry had passed an ordinance making the new anti-terror body a nodal organisation under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

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