The Jharkhand police will set up an anti-terrorism cell as a stopgap arrangement until it gets an Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on the lines of the squad under Mumbai police.
The Indian Express had reported last week that the police proposal for an ATS has been pending at the state home department for more than two years.
The cell will hold fort till the ATS,which would require cabinet clearance,takes off.
Talking at the passing out parade of sub inspector trainees at Hazaribagh last week,Chief Minister Hemant Soren had promised to accelerate clearance for the ATS,after DGP Rajeev Kumar demanded one in the state.
Inspector General (Organised Crime) Sampat Meena,to whom the new cell would report,confirmed the development. We will designate an SP-rank officer to head it. Its first task would be to build a database of those on the radar, said the IG,whose office will supervise the proposed ATS,too.
The DGP said the cell is only a temporary arrangement. With the Patna blasts,the connections in the state (Jharkhand) have become more clear. We need an ATS to look into it urgently, said Kumar.
After a suspect from the Jharkhand capital was arrested,a Ranchi link in the Patna blasts had emerged.
The Special Branch of Jharkhand police already has a cell that looks into terrorist activities. We are only involved in collection and analysis of data. There is no operational angle to the work of the Special Branch, said Rezi Dung Dung,Additional Director General,Special Branch.
The new cell under the wing against Organised Crime (OC) is expected to add to operational teeth. It is also felt that the OC division will play a larger role in terror probes. As of now,the IG (OC),the Nodal Officer for NIA-related activities,acts as a mere conduit. The office helps NIA get in touch with those in the police machinery they want to reach out to for an inquiry or arrest. Police get to know only what NIA had chosen to tell them,on need-to-know basis.
The proposed ATS is on the lines of Mumbai police squad. An SP will head it. There will be four Deputy SPs reporting to him,administration,intelligence,investigation and operations. We need about 250 personnel in all, said IG Meena.
The OC division will also send a team to interrogate Imtiaz Ansari in police custody in Patna for his suspected role in the serial blasts. A team led by Ranchi City SP Manoj Ratan Chothe has already questioned him. Jharkhand has never been a target of terror attacks and hence no FIRs are registered in this regard. The home department insisted the personnel for the proposed ATS be reduced first from 500 to 400,and now to 200.