New Delhi: Receiving terse snub from its key ally and the Opposition over National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), the Central government has put the operationalisation of the project due for March 1 on hold. The Centre has also deferred the process for the appointment of its director and three joint directors.

Confirming the report, one of the senior officials of the Union Home Ministry on Monday informed that the anti-terror body may take its shape only after a meeting of the police chiefs of all states likely to be held here on March 10.

The Home Minister P Chidambaram in his letter to Chief Ministers assured that the next steps on NCTC will be taken only after the meeting of DGPs. In his letter, he had sought to allay the apprehensions of the Chief Ministers who said empowering NCTC with Section 43 (A) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act would infringe on the state's powers. Section 43(A) of UA(P)A gives an officer power to arrest and search.

Chidambaram said the powers conferred under Section 43(A) of the UA(P) Act must be read with the duty under Section 43 (B) to produce the person or article without unnecessary delay before the nearest police station (which will be under the state government), and the SHO of the police station will take further action in accordance with the provisions of the CrPC.

Earlier this month, the Chief Ministers of several states raised objections on the powers of NCTC and complained that anti-terror body is an attack on federal structure of the country and will infringe on powers of state government.