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New police unit to tackle terrorism-linked crimes

By G. Anand

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, SEPT. 14. The police have decided to set up an intelligence support team for dealing with serious and terrorism-linked crimes having inter-State ramifications. The proposal for forming such a unit, to be named Inter-State Intelligence Support Team (ISIST), was cleared at a high-level meeting chaired by the Chief Minister, Oommen Chandy, here on Monday. The unit under the operational command of the Director General of Police, P. K. Hormese Tharakan, will have 40 commandos trained by the National Security Guard (NSG) as well as investigators and intelligence sleuths at its disposal.

There is already a "core intelligence group" in the State police that deals with terrorism-linked crimes, organisations and individuals. The new system will institutionalise the present mechanism and put more infrastructure at its disposal.

A top Home Department official told The Hindu that the team is being set up at a time when the names of several organisations and individuals in the State have been linked with terrorist and criminal activities in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and the Gulf.

Interpol wing

The Interpol wing of the State Crime Branch is to be strengthened and it will have access to a computerised database on internationally wanted criminals. The Crime Branch is to liaise with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the nodal agency for the Interpol in India.

In a bid to check illegal recruitment and visa fraud, the Crime Branch has been directed to verify all recruitment and travel agencies in the State, including those approved by the Protector of Emigrants and the Non-Resident Keralite Affairs Department (NoRKA).

The Crime Branch will be equipped with 700 "modern investigation kits", including instruments for currency note examination, at an estimated cost of more than Rs. 60 lakhs. A decision has been taken to purchase over 100 bulletproof jackets and 600 searchlights for the State police.

On the law and order front, a list of anti-social elements is to be drawn up in every police station in the State so that legal action could be promptly initiated against the habitual offenders. This list would also give information about individuals and organisations "sponsoring" such criminal elements.

Legal aid to policemen

All complaints against police, received till October 2004, will be enquired into and replies given to petitioners at the earliest.

It was also proposed that the Government give legal aid to policemen who in their line of duty become accused in private complaints.

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