Counter-terrorism centre set to lose powers to search, seize and arrest
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In a move to assuage states opposed to the creation of a National Counter Terrorism Centre, the government is all set to drop the contentious provision of search, seizure and arrest from its current proposal.
It is learnt that a revised cabinet note is being prepared for the Cabinet Committee on Security which is expected to take a call next week. After that, a conference of CMs is likely to be called early next month, during Parliament's recess, to attempt a fresh consensus.
As a result, the NCTC, sources said, will confine itself to collation of intelligence, analysing information and joining the dots at a larger level, but solely from the perspective of terrorism. The government's expectation is that this may help obtain consent of states like West Bengal, Orissa, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, among others.
But going by this truncated version, sources said the NCTC can work well within the Intelligence Bureau. Some of the states had objected to a body with powers of search, seizure and arrest being placed under the IB in the original proposal. If these powers are taken away, then there is a case being made out to let it stay in the IB for easier collaboration with other agencies.
While a call on this issue is yet to be taken, it is quite clear that North Block is willing to prune the role of NCTC — a step that may lead to some debate within the CCS.
Last year too, the government had sought to climb down after vociferous objections from the states to the original notification by making alterations in its standard operation procedures for the NCTC. It was clarified that the NCTC will use these powers of search seizure and arrest only when "immediate action is required". But in exercising these powers, it was envisaged that NCTC may not inform relevant state authorities.
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