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Government at loggerheads with 26/11 probe panel findings

india Updated: Jun 17, 2009 02:07 IST
Ketaki Ghoge
Ketaki Ghoge
Hindustan Times
Govt at loggerheads with 26/11 probe panel findings

The report on the 26/11 terror attacks that killed 166 and shook Mumbai like never before has become the centre of a battle between the government and the Ram Pradhan Committee that prepared the report. The state government chose to table only part of it along with the action taken report — a statement of the action taken by the government in response to the conclusions — disagreeing with several key findings.

The government chose to keep parts of the report confidential, terming it “sensitive” and liable to affect the ongoing 26/11 trial.

Among the major points of disagreement was the role of the then Police Commissioner Hasan Gafoor. The committee said he showed “lack of leadership and initiative” during the attacks. The government, however, stood by him. The action taken report, prepared by the Home Department, said: “The report commended the police for a job well done, so how it is that the officer who led them was unsuccessful?”

Gafoor was transferred last Saturday in an apparent bid to avoid flak over the committee’s findings.

In the report, prepared by former union home secretary Pradhan and former Research and Analysis Wing official V Balachandran, Gafoor is the sole police officer held responsible for the debacle.

However, the report said the Mumbai police did a commendable job, praising Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Rakesh Maria’s handling of the control room, which involves logistics. The report said Gafoor should have been supervising overall operations, which involves coordinating with the different agencies involved.

“We believe the then commissioner did a good job. I don’t think we can blame individual officers,” said Chief Minister Ashok Chavan.

Pradhan said: “I don’t want to comment. If the committee’s entire report was tabled, it would have been different.”

The report also said that the system of analysing intelligence reports was inadequate and that the police’s Quick Response Team was not capable of handling the attack.

It also said equipment used to handle terror needs to be modernised.

The committee also said there were no intelligence lapses and that countering a war-like attack was beyond the capacity of any police force.