NEW DELHI/BHUBANESHWAR: It came like a bolt from the blue, rather from the States to the Centre. Four Chief Ministers, no less — J Jayalalithaa, Naveen Patnaik, Nitish Kumar and even UPA ally Mamata Banerjee — revolted against the Centre’s move to set up a National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) on the ground that it would chip away the states’ powers.
Just as the NCTC order delineating its organisation, power, duties, issued by the Union Home Ministry, came to light, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik shot off a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, protesting against the move which he said would infringe on the “powers of state governments in matters of investigation and maintenance of order’’.
When Patnaik’s February 14 innuendo failed to extract any response from the Centre, his counterpart in West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, followed up the act and wrote to the PM on February 14. In her letter, Mamata expressed her deep concern over the extensive power that has been given to the NCTC, to be located in the Intelligence Bureau (IB).
Opposing the move, Mamata gave reasons for her reservations: “Officers of the Operations Division of the NCTC shall have the power to search under Section 43 A of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. Also, all authorities including the functionaries of the State Governments are required to provide information/document to the NCTC.’’ She too reiterated Patnaik’s “infringement on the powers of the state’’ point.
This topped with TN CM J Jayalalithaa’s strong statement on Friday that “some ministers in the Centre are acting in a high-handed manner without consulting the state governments’’, had the Centre scurrying for cover.