Rejecting the National Counter Terrorism Centre or NCTC in its present form, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Saturday blamed the Home Ministry for the growing distrust between the Centre and states.
Launching a frontal attack on the Home Ministry, she accused it of trying to usurp the powers of the states by proposing entities such as the NCTC.
This amounted to "belittling the states" and treating them as "pawns on a chess board", she said in her address at the chief ministers' meeting in the Capital today. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P Chidambaram too heard her address.
Ms Jayalalithaa cited amendments to the Border Security Force Act to provide powers to function in the hinterland and the constitution of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) as examples of states losing powers.
She referred to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's comments about the growing distrust between the Centre and the states.
She also pointed out how certain actions by "certain central ministers" were widening the gulf between New Delhi and states.
"The NCTC is one such initiative. It is aimed at creating a quick response operations wing of the Intelligence Bureau since it has no faith in the abilities of the state governments to apprehend terrorists whenever intelligence is made available," she said in a 30-page address circulated to the media.
Indirectly attacking Mr Chidambaram, Ms Jayalalithaa said the Centre should not spend time advising the states on principles of administration.
The chief ministers have their "feet firmly on the ground" and "do not keep holding press conferences after a terrorist attack", she said.
"In my view, NCTC needs a total overhaul and for this I suggest that a smaller sub-committee of chief ministers be set up.
"The NCTC, as has now been notified, should be kept in abeyance, till the sub-committee give its report. As a matter of fact, any discussion on NCTC is infructuous as long as the notification of NCTC is in force."
She said neither the NCTC order of the Home Ministry nor the agenda papers for the meeting "mentions the gaps and deficiencies in the architecture of counter terrorism capabilities that necessitated the NCTC."
Noting that NCTC's human resources were overloaded with Intelligence Bureau personnel, the manpower for the counter-terrorism body from other agencies of the Centre and the states will only "enjoy secondary status", she said.
This will create rifts among various agencies, which is in itself clearly a regressive step, she warned.
"It is going to spell doom and greatly diminish the level of operational capabilities and a caste structure in the counter terrorism."
She said her government did not even receive a copy of the NCTC order and it was Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik who shared his copy with her.
"Such is the casual attitude displayed by the Home Ministry, which borders on absolute disdain for the Tamil Nadu government... reveals the utmost contempt the central government has for Tamil Nadu," she said.