Moily: Panel didnít call for NCTC search, arrest

Home Minister P Chidambaram has repeatedly said that the Second Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) recommended the setting up of the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC). However, there are "fundamental differences" between the powers and functions of the NCTC as conceived by the home ministry, and what the ARC recommended in its report on 'Combating Terrorism' in June 2008.

In April, when the conflicting voices on the NCTC were loudest, Corporate Affairs Minister M Veerappa Moily, who chaired the Second ARC, wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh clarifying the position and asserting that if the ARC's recommendations are implemented, they may not "attract such controversies and at the same time could achieve the intended objectives".

In his letter, Moily pointed out that the powers to arrest and search, the major sticking point with governments of several states, which the NCTC (Organisation, Functions, Powers and Duties) Order, 2012 provides for, were not there in the ARC report.

Moily appended a note on the ARC recommendations, writing therein, "The Commission took a considered decision after taking into account the sanctity of the constitutional scheme of division of powers between Centre and states and thought it prudent not to vest police powers such as search and arrest to officers of the NCTC."

Chapter 6 of the ARC report, which dealt with 'Institutional and Administrative Measures' was not made public. In this 'confidential' section, accessed by The Indian Express, the ARC had recommended that the Multi-Agency Centre (MAC) should be converted into NCTC with "personnel drawn from different intelligence and security agencies".

The NCTC should be the apex coordinating agency for terror cases, the ARC had recommended. "The objectives of the NCTC would be greater coordination among the various national intelligence agencies in India to ensure seamless information sharing and coordination among the different agencies," the note says.

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