No agreement on separate panel for terror

April 28th, 2008 - 10:31 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Shivraj Patil

New Delhi, April 28 (IANS) Members of the consultative committee of the Ministry of Home Affairs met here Monday but once again failed to come to a consensus on the need for a central agency to investigate cases of terrorism and other related crimes that have interstate and international ramifications. It was decided that the issue needed further discussion with chief ministers as the central government had limitations on deciding the scope and functioning of such an agency - police and public order were state subjects under the Constitution, said home minister Shivraj Patil.

“It is therefore necessary to discuss the issue of central agencies to investigate certain types of crimes and to counter terrorism and the manner in which it should be done, with the states, and this is being done,” said a statement issued by the ministry.

Just last month a parliamentary committee recommended that the government give urgent statutory backing to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) so that it could take on cases independently, especially in the current climate of high-tech crime and new age terror.

In fact the panel headed by Congress MP, E.M. Sudarsana Natchiappan went a step ahead to suggest that the CBI be armed with powers like the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the US.

The panel asserted that it was high time this idea was translated into action instead of being debated endlessly.

In the light of threat levels posed by organised crime and terror groups, the committee also suggested the CBI be also envisaged as an enforcement agency which would mean that apart from investigation and prosecution it would be given a mandate to ensure prevention of crime.

In its hard-hitting report the committee recommended that a separate anti-terrorism division should be created in the CBI and regretted that no proactive steps have so far been taken in this regard in spite of strong recommendations.

“The committee strongly opines that unless CBI is suitably empowered statutorily, it cannot investigate cases and take it to its logical conclusion,” the report said.

Those who attended the meeting included Nikhil Kumar, Mohanbhai Delkar, and Khagen Das of the Lok Sabha and K. Malaisamy, Mahmood A. Madani and D. Raja of the Rajya Sabha.

Ministers of state for home, Sriprakash Jaiswal, Shakeel Ahmed and V. Radhika Selvi and the home secretary Madhukar Gupta were present.

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