Mamata slams Centre, says NCTC not acceptable

New Delhi: Slamming the Centre for taking a unilateral decision on formation of NCTC, key UPA ally and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today said such institutions "upset" the federal structure of the country and was "not acceptable" to the state.

She said setting up of institutions like National Counter Terrorism Centre with the proposed powers of arrest and seizure upsets the federal structure of the country and strongly urged the central government to withdraw order on its formation.

"It is unfortunate that in utter disregard to these federal principles, the NCTC was set up by an executive order dated February 3, 2012 of the Union Home Ministry without adequate consultations with the States.

"These kind of unilateral steps of the Union Government in matters which fall within the jurisdictions of the States only increases the trust-deficit between the Centre and States," Mamata said in a especially convened meeting of Chief Ministers on the constitution of NCTC here.

The Centre`s decision of creating NCTC has caused clamour among many State Governments including West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat and Odisha among others strongly opposing the move taken without consulting them.

Mamata said setting up of an institutions like the NCTC with the proposed powers of arrest, search and seizure "greatly upsets the constitutionally-mandated federal structure of the country by infringing on the power of the States".

According to an order issued by Union Home Ministry, the NCTC will have three divisions responsible for collection and dissemination of information, analysis and operations and will be placed within the Intelligence Bureau.

"The IB is, for valid reasons, a secret intelligence organisation, without legislative accountability. There is, therefore, a danger of grave misuse of the powers of arrest, search and seizures given to the IB through the NCTC.

"A central intelligence agency with unbridled powers of search, seizure and arrest, without the consent or knowledge of the State Governments is not acceptable to us," she said.

Taking the opportunity, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief demanded special dispensation of funds and other logistic support for the State to equip it with modernised police force and strong intelligence agencies.

"The resources at the disposal of the State Government are inadequate to take care of the problems in the border areas, inaccessible regions, Left Wing Extremism affected areas and riverine and coastal regions.

"There are serious infrastructural deficiencies that have accumulated over several years of neglect in regard to communication, roads, vehicles, equipments, etc for the police and security forces… I would urge the Central government to grant a special allocation for West Bengal," she said.

Mamata said that the exercise of police functions should remain the prerogative of the State as enshrined in the Constitution and the well-conceived equilibrium of powers and responsibilities between the Centre and the States should not be disturbed under any circumstances.

"I would, therefore, strongly urge the Union Government to withdraw the order dated February 3, 2012 issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs for setting up of NCTC," the West Bengal CM said.

She also suggested a meeting of Chief Ministers periodically to review the internal security situation in the country so that "the Centre and the States can jointly work-out broad strategies to tackle terrorism".