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Gujarat to enforce new anti-terror law from Dec. 1

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It will also help State deal with organised crime, says minister

Gujarat’s controversial anti-terror law that has several draconian provisions like intercepted telephonic talk as legitimate evidence, and statement before a police official of SP rank being admissible evidence in the court, is set to be enforced from December 1.

Earlier this month, President Ram Nath Kovind had given his assent to the Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime (GCTOC) Act, which had thrice failed to get the nod from three previous Presidents since 2004 owing to draconian provisions and apparently sweeping powers given to the police.

The revised version of the controversial legislation was passed by the BJP government in the State in March 2015, and was formulated to deal with terrorism and organised crime such as contract killing, ponzi schemes, narcotics trade, extortion rackets, cyber crime, land-grabbing and human trafficking.

On Tuesday, Minister of State for Home, Pradeepsinh Jadeja, said, “We will start the implementation of the GCTOC Act from December 1. A notification in this regard will be issued soon.”

“The provisions of the Act will prove crucial in dealing with terrorism and organised crimes, such as contract killing, ponzi schemes, narcotics trade and extortion rackets,” he said, adding that since Gujarat is a border State and has been a victim of terrorism, it needs such strong laws to deal with terrorism and organised crime.

The law allows intercepted telephonic conversations as legitimate evidence. Another key provision is admissibility of confession made before a police officer as evidence.

The Bill, earlier named as the Gujarat Control of Organised Crime (GUJCOC) Bill, had failed to get the Presidential nod thrice since 2004 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was chief minister and the Congress-led UPA was in power at the Centre. In 2015, the BJP government in the State re-introduced the Bill by renaming it as the GCTOC.

According to Mr. Jadeja, the legislation also provides for creation of a special court and appointment of special public prosecutors to expedite trial of the cases filed under the law.

“We can now attach properties acquired through organised crimes. We can also cancel transfer of properties. Other provision of the Act is admissibility of confession made before a police officer as evidence,” Mr. Jadeja added.

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 2:10:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/gujarat-to-enforce-new-anti-terror-law-from-dec-1/article30100890.ece

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