“We are trying to strengthen the humint component ”

Amid indications of no major headway in last week’s blast outside the State Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) office in Bangalore, Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Monday again pushed for the controversial National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) that would strengthen intelligence set up of the States.

“We are trying to strengthen the ‘humint’ (human intelligence) component in our intelligence agencies. That will start yielding results. We also need to quickly put the NCTC in place. We have now a revised formulation of NCTC which takes care of the objections of the States,” Mr. Shinde said in his statement in the Lok Sabha on the blast.

P. Chidambaram, former Home Minister, had mooted the idea of setting up the NCTC after the Mumbai terror attacks to have a proper database of terrorists and organisations, and facilitate efficient sharing of intelligence. But this proposal is being opposed by the non-Congress-ruled States, accusing the Centre of interfering in the States’ functioning.

Stating that a mechanism is being prepared to track explosives, Mr. Shinde said the Ministry of Home Affairs was working with the Department of Industrial Policy and Planning, and the National Institute of Smart Government to put an explosives tracking system in place. “But the problems will remain till the District Magistrates and Superintendents of Police have the stocks and consumption of the licensed explosive users checked more often and more stringently,” he noted.

Mr. Shinde, however, failed to give any details of the progress being made by the investigators in the blast case. Pointing out that forensic experts had indicated towards the use of nitrate compounds in the blast, he said: “CCTV footage collected from the entry exit routes, toll tax gates, apartments, traffic junctions, temples and BJP office is being analysed to locate the culprits… Extensive searches are being conducted all over the city. A round-the-clock control room has also been established by the State police to gather information from public. The National Investigation Agency, National Security Guard, Intelligence Bureau and Central Forensic Science Laboratory are assisting the Karnataka Police, who are investigating the case.”

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