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Exposed: Deep divide between police, Govt

india Updated: Jun 21, 2009 00:21 IST
Shailesh Gaikwad

No wonder the Maharashtra government is wary about making it public.

The report of the Ram Pradhan Committee that probed the handling of the 26/11 terrorist attack on Mumbai exposes the deep divisions and utter lack of planning in the official establishment.

The testimonies of some officers are a virtual blame-game, pointing to cracks within the police department and a rift between the police and government administration.

The confusion in the response to the terror strike is reflected in the depositions before the probe panel.

It is, therefore, hardly surprising that the government plans to make the report a classified document, which would place it beyond the reach of the public and safe from the Right to Information Act too.

On June 16, the state government tabled in the legislature 26 findings of the Pradhan committee along with a report on the action to be taken on them. The full report was withheld on the grounds that the contents were “sensitive” in view of the ongoing trial of Ajmal Kasab.

The full report, accessed by HT, has depositions by senior officials that are directly contradictory. For example, some police officers accused Hasan Gafoor, then Mumbai police commissioner, of not guiding them properly. The committee concluded that Gafoor was found lacking.

This view is disputed by home department officials.

There are several instances of police and home department officials differing on who was to blame for various lapses. For example, home department officials disagreed with then Director-General of Police A.N. Roy over ammunition supplies.

While Roy claimed supply was inadequate, the department pointed out how Rs 4.86 crore in funds had lapsed in 2006-07, as no purchases were made.

Besides, the additional chief secretary and principal secretary in the home department gave in writing to the committee that they didn’t receive intelligence alerts from the Union Home Ministry, but Roy said otherwise.

The committee also questions the crisis management system in the police establishment and the government. It points out that the Quick Response Team set up to counter terrorists was divided on what the response should be and could not put up any resistance. It had not been trained to handle hostage situations either.

The report is scathing in its comments on the state of coastal security too.