Days ago, PC had written to PM to push NCTC


Days before Thursday's twin blasts in Hyderabad, Finance Minister P Chidambaram wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stressing the need to set up the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) and NATGRID at the earliest to prevent terror attacks.

In the letter written earlier this week, Chidambaram is said to have underlined that the delay in setting up the NATGRID — a proposed intelligence network that would integrate databases of various departments to give a comprehensive information pattern — had hurt the handling of internal security.

He is also believed to have indicated that the lack of momentum in pushing the NCTC, a federal anti-terror agency modelled along a similar body in the US, was posing hurdles in tackling terror attacks.

In fact, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde referred to the NCTC on Friday while speaking on the Hyderabad blasts in the Rajya Sabha. He said the UPA government was keen to set it up, but had failed to do so after several states objected, saying the move would usurp their powers. He said the Centre was prepared to establish it even now.

As home minister, Chidambaram had proposed setting up the NCTC as well as NATGRID in the aftermath of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. He got Cabinet approval for NATGRID; it was due to be operationalised this year.

But the project lost momentum and faced delays after his exit from the home ministry. His attempt to secure backing for the NCTC from political parties also failed after several non-Congress states raised objections on the ground that the proposal compromised the federal structure.

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