Manmohan Singh
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan SinghReuters

In a bid to placate the opposition from seven chief ministers over the contentious National Counter-Terrorism Center (NCTC) issue, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wrote to them assuring that Home Minister P Chidambaram will consult over the functioning of the elite anti-terror group.

"I have, however, noted your concerns about the manner in which the NCTC will function and am asking the Home Minister to address them suitably, in consultation with you and other Chief Ministers", Manmohan Singh in his letter to the Chief Ministers of seven states.

Last month the union cabinet cleared the idea of the elite anti-terror group to bolster the security architecture of the country to fight terrorism post the 26/11 Mumbai attack. The NCTC is set to be operational from March 1.

Heavy opposition came from the seven chief ministers - Odisha's Naveen Patnaik, West Bengal's Mamata Banerjee, Bihar's Nitish Kumar, Tamil Nadu's J Jayalalithaa, Gujarat's Narendra Modi, Madhya Pradesh's Shivraj Singh Chauhan and Tripura's Manik Sharkar - over the proposed elite anti-terror group saying that the NCTC will infringe upon the independence of states and weaken the federal structure of India.

In his communication, the Prime Minister said the NCTC had been located within the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and was not a separate organization.

The Prime Minister said in his letter to them that, it is not the government's intent in any way to affect the basic features of the Constitutional provisions and allocation of powers between the States and the Union.

"As you may be aware, the idea of such a centre has been under consideration by Government since the Group of Ministers report of 2001 suggested a Joint Task Force on Intelligence and the report was accepted by the Government of the day. It was also suggested by the Second Administrative Reforms Commission that a National Centre for Counter Terrorism be established," said the Prime Minister in his letter to the CMs.

"The primary purpose of the NCTC is to coordinate counter-terrorism efforts throughout the country, as the IB has been doing so far. It is for this reason that the NCTC has been located within the IB and not as a separate organization", said the letter.

The NCTC is planned as an elite counter terrorism body under union home ministry with an IPS officer of the rank of Additional Director General of Police (ADGP), IB or above heading it as director.

The heavy opposition came from the seven Chief Ministers over the provision of NCTC that empowers the operations division of NCTC to arrest and carry out searches under Section 43 (A) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.

Earlier, Odisha's Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wrote to Prime Minister opposing the contentious pet project of Home Minister P Chidambaram. Other CMs, including Nitish Kumar, Jayalalithaa, Narendra Modi, Shivraj Singh Chauhan and Manik Sharkar joined hands with Mamata and Patnaik.