Pitching for the scrapping of the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Saturday said there was no need for a central anti-terror body.
Speaking at a meeting of chief ministers here, Banerjee said: "The setting up of an institution like NCTC with the proposed powers of arrest, search and seizure greatly upsets the constitutionally mandated federal structure of the country by infringing upon the power of the states. It will only increase the trust deficit between the central government and the states.
"I also find no need for a central agency to be declared a designated authority in a state under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Activities Act unless the concerned state government specifically requests the central government for such declaration," she said.
Banerjee demanded the withdrawal of the order for the constitution of NCTC, saying police functions should remain under the prerogative of the states as enshrined in the constitution.
The well-conceived equilibrium of powers and responsibilities between the centre and state should not be disturbed under any circumstances, she said.
According to Banerjee, the primary role of the central government should be to provide funds and other logistical support to the states to equip them with modernised police forces and strong intelligence agencies.
She suggested that the prime minister might hold meetings with the chief ministers periodically to review the internal security situation in the country so that the central government and states could jointly work out broad-based strategies to tackle terrorism.
Calling it unfortunate, she said that in utter disregard of the federal principles, the NCTC was set up by an executive order of the home ministry without adequate consultations with states.
"There is a danger of grave misuse of the powers of arrest, search and seizures given to the Intelligence Bureau through 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 added.