New Delhi, Mar 31 (ANI): Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on Saturday indicated that the annual chief ministers meeting on April 16 might be extended to discuss the modalities for setting up the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC).
Addressing media after presenting his ministry's monthly report for March 2012, Chidambaram said: "I am glad that there will be a debate, and, I sincerely hope that it will be a debate based on the Constitution, laws in force and the very healthy convention that has been built over the last 65 years."
"Please remember that the chief ministers conference on internal security is an annual affair. It was initially convened for February 15, 2012. The NCTC question came up in March. The February 15 meeting was postponed because of the election and Parliament session to April 16," he said.
"But, I think it is important that all issues of the agenda are discussed. How we will accommodate the request of the chief ministers to devote a considerable amount of time to discuss the NCTC subject, it is a matter that will be resolved, I think, in the next couple of days," he added.
On being asked about the possibility of extending the day-long meeting to two days, Chidambaram said, "That will depend on the convenience of the Prime Minister and chief ministers. But that is an option."
Several state governments, including the West Bengal, Orissa and Gujarat, have opposed the establishment of the NCTC on grounds that it would hurt the country's federal structure.
Once set up, the main responsibility of the NCTC would be to ensure that a wide variety of security organisations in the country work in tandem, at least on issues related to terrorism.
It will also have the power to seek information, including documents, reports, transcripts, and cyber information from any agency, including the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the National Investigation Agency, the National Technical Research Organization, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence and all seven central armed police forces, including the National Security Guard (NSG).
The body, which would function under the Intelligence Bureau, would be been given its own operational wing, with powers to arrest and conduct searches under Section 43A of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. (ANI)
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