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Can't stop another 26/11: Pillai

Three years after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, India still doesn't have the ability to prevent a repeat, former union home secretary GK Pillai, who took charge soon after the terror strike, has said. Sahil Makkar & Elizabeth Roche report. What the govt has done to tighten security | Weapons and vehicles with the forces | Looking back| How the case unfolded | Can we guarantee there will be no more 26/11?

delhi Updated: Nov 26, 2011 10:53 IST
Closed-circuit-television-footage-shows-gunmen-walking-across-a-parking-lot-after-shooting-spree-at-Chhatrapati-Shivaji-Terminus-train-station-in-Mumbai-Reuters-photo
Closed-circuit-television-footage-shows-gunmen-walking-across-a-parking-lot-after-shooting-spree-at-Chhatrapati-Shivaji-Terminus-train-station-in-Mumbai-Reuters-photo

Three years after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, India still doesn't have the ability to prevent a repeat, former union home secretary GK Pillai, who took charge soon after the terror strike, has said.

The attacks could have been prevented had the US authorities been forthcoming with the details they had about terrorist David Coleman Headley, who is being tried in a Chicago court, Pillai said in an interview.

For instance, Headley's bank details would have revealed whether his financiers were the Lashkar-e-Taiba, the ISI or some American agency, the former senior bureaucrat said.

"So they (Americans) were partially fair to us, not fully," Pillai said.

Headley visited India and Mumbai several times before the strikes and collected information for the Lashkar. His role is considered significant in planning of the attack that left 166 people dead.

"It's quite possible we can (prevent such attacks) provided we are lucky - if the opponent makes some mistake or we catch some intercepts or communication."

As regards Pakistan's complaint that India gave "information but no evidence", Pillai said: "I think we have given enough evidence ... They know the people involved. Since it is their own people, they do not want to take action. For example, the voice samples of the Pakistan handlers who were in touch with the terrorists are available."

What will happen if there is another attack like 26/11? "The entire peace process will be derailed."

Sahil Makkar and Elizabeth Roche work for Mint, an HT sister publication.