MHA not to comment on Patil asking President to reject GUJCOCA

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New Delhi, Nov 12 (UNI) The Home Ministry today refused to comment on reports that the Centre has rejected the Gujarat Control of Organised Crime Bill (GUJCOCA) aimed to fight terror in the state.

''I can neither confirm nor deny these reports,'' official spokesman of the Home Ministry Omkar Kedia said here.

The media reports had stated that Home Minister Shivraj Patil has advised the President to reject the Bill saying the provisions in it are "too strong and that the Bill is likely to be misused by investigating agencies".

The Bill was passed by the Gujarat Assembly in 2003 and is modelled on the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act. However, the Centre has been withholding consent. The President is now likely to send it back to the state Assembly asking for changes in its provisions.

Mr Patil had earlier said that the existing laws were tough enough to deal with terrorism, only that they should be implemented more effectively.

Pointing out that even when MCOCA was in place, blasts took place in Maharashtra, he said that the existing laws were tough enough but they need to be implemented more effectively.

Now this issue is likely to become a key issue during the assembly polls in six states as BJP leader and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi could cite this as the Centre's soft stand on terror. He could argue that despite GUJCOCA being a carbon copy of the Maharashtra and Karnataka acts, the Centre is going to return the bill to the Assembly for the second time.

Earlier, the Gujarat High Court had asked the Centre why was it dragging its feet.

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