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Rediff.com  » News » Centre sends back GUJCOCA, Modi govt hits back

Centre sends back GUJCOCA, Modi govt hits back

June 19, 2009 23:20 IST
Political controversy broke out on Friday after the Centre decided to return the controversial anti-terror Bill sponsored by the Narendra Modi government in Gujarat, suggesting three changes without which, it said, it would not be sent for Presidential assent.

The decision to return the Gujarat Control of Organised Crime Bill (GUJCOCA) has been taken to bring it in conformity with the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act which was amended by Parliament last year, Home Minister P Chidambaram said after a meeting of Union Cabinet.

Modi has been demanding early assent to the Bill, pending with the Centre for more than four years, but Chidambaram said the Centre wants three amendments including the provision that confessions to a police officer will be admissible should be dropped and courts should have the power to give bail after hearing the public prosecutor.

In a sharp reaction, the Modi government termed the Centre's decision as a "deliberate" attempt to delay the Bill and accused the United Progressive Alliance government of playing voteibank politics.

"You can't dictate to the assembly what it has to do. It is disrespect to the people of the state," Gujarat Health Minister Jaynarayan Vyas said.

Minister of State for Home and Law Amit Shah alleged that the UPA government was continuing its "discriminatory" approach towards Gujarat.

"Maharashtra, a neighbouring state of Gujarat, has a similar law and our GUJCOCA is entirely based on it. But still the Central government headed by the Congress refused to give its nod," Shah said.

But the Congress defended the decision, contending that some of the provisions of GUJCOCA were tougher than the Prevention Of Terrorism Act, which was repealed by the UPA.

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