New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Friday returned a controversial Bill that sought special powers for the police in Gujarat to tackle terrorism and organized crime.
The Bill was passed by the Gujarat state assembly.
Union home minister P. Chidambaram told a news conference that the cabinet has suggested three amendments to the Gujarat Control of Organised Crime Bill (Gujcoca) before it could be recommended to President Pratibha Patil for acceptance.
He said the Centre has asked the state to drop a provision in the Bill which makes confession of an accused before a police officer admissible in court. The Union government has also sought an amendment to a section in the Bill that seeks to extend the period of detention of a person standing trial from the present 90 days to 180 days. The third amendment sought by the Centre is in a clause that states that courts cannot grant bail to an accused without hearing the public prosecutor.
Red alert: Chidambaram said police action in Lalgarh is going ahead as planned but the forces should be prepared to expect the unexpected. Vijay Kumar Joshi / PTI
Chidambaram said the amendments were necessary to bring the Bill in line with the Unlawful Activities Prevention of Terrorism Act passed by Parliament last year.
Commenting on the anti-Maoist operations in Lalgarh in West Bengal, Chidambaram said the police action was going ahead as planned, but the forces would have to be prepared to “expect the unexpected”.
The West Bengal police have adequate strength and they should lead the operation from the front as they are doing, he said, adding that “the CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) will assist them”.
The Centre has also decided to extend the stock limit imposed on sugar traders by six months until 8 January 2010 to curb any possible increase in the price of the commodity, Chidambaram said.
The government had issued a notification which was valid for four months in March to check hoarding of sugar. The cabinet on Friday extended the validity of the de-hoarding notification.
“This extension is expected to help in the efforts being undertaken to tackle the problem of rising prices of sugar and also improve its availability,” the home minister said.
Meanwhile, the cabinet committee on economic affairs (CCEA) also approved the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems that is aimed at creating an integrated system for communication between police stations across the country. The system is expected to facilitate sharing of data and information between police stations. The cost of the project is Rs2,000 crore and has been accommodated into the 11th Five Year Plan that ends in 2012.
The cabinet also approved the procurement of an aircraft for disaster management that would be used by the National Remote Sensing Agency of the department of space. The aircraft would help undertakereal-time aerial surveys of operations in support of disaster management.
The CCEA also approved the Tripura gas-based power project at a cost of Rs421 crore.