Tuesday, February 7, 2012

India to have a National-Counter Terrorism Centre from March 1

The government has said it would set up on March 1 a powerful anti-terror agency that will integrate and analyse inputs on terror threats in India and will have legal authority to make arrests and conduct search operations.

The order comes after the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) on January 11 approved the creation of the National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC), an agency to maintain data of terror modules, terrorists, their associates, friends, families and supporters.

It said the NCTC will derive powers from the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), which allows central government agencies to make arrests or searches in terror-related cases while keeping state police concerned into the loop.

"The officers of the NCTC shall have the power to arrest and the power to search under the UAPA," said the order.

The NCTC will also have the power to seek information, including documents, reports, transcripts, and cyber information from any agency, including from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), National Investigation Agency, NATGRID, National Technical Research Organization, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence and all seven central armed police forces including the National Security Guard (NSG).

The agency has worked out on the model of the US' similar body aimed at combating terrorism by collecting and analysing threats, sharing the inputs and information with other agencies and converting these into actionable data.

The counter-terrorism agency will be a separate body located in the Intelligence Bureau under the control of the home ministry.
It will "draw up plans and coordinate actions for counter terrorism" and will "integrate intelligence pertaining to terrorism, analyse the same", according to the government order to come into effect from March 1.

The head of the NCTC will be called director and will be an officer in the rank of additional director IB.

Other officials of the agency will be deputed from other organisations like the Research and Analysis Wing, IB and other intelligence and investigation agencies.