PATNA: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday appeared to be in agreement with the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill which has been facing stiff opposition ever since it was tabled in the Parliament.
The JD(U) leader, who is an ally of the ruling NDA at the Centre, also scoffed at speculations about his shifting base to Delhi by getting elected to the Rajya Sabha or even getting elected as the president or vice-president, urging that such rumors be "ignored".
The chief minister was talking to reporters here on the sidelines of his weekly public interaction programme.
When asked about the contentious bill, which seeks to give sweeping powers to investigating agencies, Kumar said "It is the Parliament's prerogative to pass such a law. Once passed all have to abide by it".
Kumar also seemed to disagree with the contention of opposition parties, like the Congress and TMC, that the bill had "intrusive" provisions.
"I am sure once this bill becomes a law there will be detailed guidelines for its implementation in a manner that there is not much scope for its misuse. But it is essential to be in possession of records of those involved in crimes", said Kumar.
The bill seeks to empower investigating agencies, including the police, to collect DNA samples and fingerprints of all detainees, unlike in the past when this was permissible only for hardened criminals.
The records collected will be maintained by the National Crime Records Bureau and some regional parties fear that this might lead to an infringement of the rights of the states which are responsible for maintaining law and order.
"After all, we see that people remain involved in mischief even in jail. Something has to be done to curb the menace," said Kumar in an apparent reference to recovery of mobile phones and other banned items during a raid conducted recently at Beur Central Prison near here from the cell of controversial MLA Anant Kumar Singh.
Kumar, who is the state's longest serving chief minister, was also asked about the recent speculations about his desire to move out of Bihar which arose out of an off the cuff remark he had made during an informal conversation with journalists.
"This is meaningless talk. I had been undertaking personal visits to areas falling under the Barh Lok Sabha constituency I once represented. I feel a personal connect with the people there", said Kumar recalling the chain of events that had triggered the speculations.
When some journalists had asked him if he wanted to be back in Delhi by getting elected to Lok Sabha again, the JD(U) leader, who has held important ministries at the Centre in the past, said he has been to the Parliament's lower house and both houses of the state legislature and only the Rajya Sabha remained.
This was construed in a section of the media as an expression of intention to give up the chief minister's chair, in the wake of growing clamour in the BJP ranks for its "own CM".
It was also speculated that the senior JD(U) leader might be NDA's pick for the president or vice-president.
Terms of both President Ram Nath Kovind and Vice-president M Venkaiah Naidu end in a few months from now.
Kumar made it amply clear that this was not on his agenda and sought to brush aside anxieties expressed by a section of BJP leaders asserting "we are working together" (mil julkar kaam kar rahe hain).
"If anybody says something to the contrary, please ignore it", he said.