Probe agencies want single anti-terror mechanism

Investigating agencies have recommended the setting up of a central anti-terror mechanism placing intelligence and investigation wings under a single command.

Why?

  • For more coordinated action against emerging internal security challenges.
  • Such unified body would consist of:
    1. The intelligence gathering, analysis and dissemination wing;
    2. Forensic divisions; and
    3. Investigation and prosecution wings
  • It is expected to be created through an executive order.

Other suggestions made:

  • The Multi Agency Centre and the operations wings of the Intelligence Bureau, other than those dealing with political intelligence, be brought under the new setup.

Arguments in opposition to the proposed idea:

  • Many IB officers have expressed reservations about such a mechanism. They also have concerns about the safety and security of field officers and the secrecy of covert operations.
  • Arguing for insulating the intelligence wing from any vulnerability under the proposed single command, some security experts said all the divisions could function independently.

Background:

  • It was after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack that the then Home Minister suggested setting up of the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), on the lines of the one in the United States and the British Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, for coordinated counter-terror operations.
  • However, concerned that such an agency could well be abused by the Centre for political ends, many Chief Ministers struck down the idea primarily because the unit was to function under the Intelligence Bureau and, unlike the U.S. agency, it would be empowered to conduct searches and arrests under Sections 43 and 43A of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
  • In 2012, the Centre came up with an office memorandum defining the functions, powers and duties of the NCTC as a single and effective point of control and coordination of all counter-terrorism measures, which would work through the existing agencies in the country.

Sources: The Hindu.

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