M A I N   N E W S

Three years after 26/11, India to get crack
agency to tackle terror
National Counter Terrorism Centre to be
operational from March 1
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 6
More than three years after it was proposed, India finally has a National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) — an overarching counter-terrorism agency with immense powers to tackle terrorism. It has been mandated to carry out arrests, seize terror-related property and cash, requisition documents, calls records and financial transactions of suspected persons from all other agencies.

It will be responsible for conducting analysis and operations besides collection and dissemination of information at all levels.

The NCTC, which was proposed after the Mumbai attacks, will formally come into force from March 1. The Union Home Ministry has laid down functions, powers and duties of the NCTC through a formal order.

Politically, this is the first major step initiated by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram after he was given a clean chit in the 2G spectrum scam by the CBI Special Court on Saturday. Chidambaram had reportedly signed the orders on Friday, a day before the CBI special court was to hear the 2G case.

This is the second such organisation set up by the Union Home Minister post -26/11 after the National Investigation Agency.

The unit would be headed by a director of the rank of Additional Director General with three units — gathering intelligence, analysis of intelligence and carrying out operations — and each of these divisions would be headed by a joint director of the Intelligence Bureau.

The National Counter Terrorism Centre shall have its core staff drawn from the personnel of the IB or those directly recruited by the IB for the NCTC. To provide a multi-talented pool, officers on deputation will be taken from Research and Analysis Wing, Defence intelligence agency, Narcotics Control Bureau and the Central Board of Direct Taxes, among others.

Notably, the Ministry of Home Affairs has brought all other agencies under the NCTC umbrella. The order says “(The NCTC will itself) pursue or mandate other agencies to pursue different leads (on terror) and coordinate with the existing agencies.”

Further, the MHA lays down: “The NCTC shall have the powers to seek information, including documents, reports, transcripts, cyber information and information of every other kind, from any agency”.

The National Counter Terrorism Centre shall also have power to requisition the services of the National Security Guard (NSG) or any other special forces. For the first time, a body under the IB will have powers to arrest.

The Director, NCTC, will also be the “designated authority” having special powers to seize property and cash suspected to be used for spread of terror.

To further indicate its intent on empowering the new body, the Ministry of Home Affairs says: “All civil authorities in the territory of India and all authorities of the Government of India located outside India shall act in aid of the NCTC”.

One of the tasks for the NCTC is to maintain a comprehensive database of terrorists, their associates, friends, families and supporters; of terror modules and gangs; and of all information pertaining to terrorists.





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