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Report shows cracks between police, Govt

india Updated: Jun 20, 2009 01:19 IST
Shailesh Gaikwad

Small wonder that the Maharashtra government is wary about making it public. The report of the Ram Pradhan Committee that probed the handling of the November 26, 2008, terrorist attacks on Mumbai exposes the deep divisions and utter lack of planning in the official establishment.

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

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

Hardly surprising then if the government now plans to make the report a classified document, which would place it beyond the reach of the public — safe even from queries under the Right to Information Act.

On June 16, the government tabled in the Legislature 26 findings of the committee along with a report on the action to be taken on them. The full report was withheld on the grounds that it was “sensitive” in view of the ongoing trial of Ajmal Kasab, the lone attacker captured alive.

The full report, which Hindustan Times accessed, has depositions by several senior officials that are contradictory.

For example, some police officers said Hasan Gafoor, then police commissioner, did not guide them properly or keep track of the developments.

The committee concluded that Gafoor was found lacking. This view was disputed by Home Department officials.

There are several such instances of police and Home officials differing over who was to blame for lapses. For example, Home officials disagreed with the then Director-General of Police AN Roy over ammunition supplies.

While Roy claimed the supply was inadequate, the Home Department pointed out how funds of Rs 4.86 crore lapsed in 2006-07 as no purchases of arms or ammunition were made.

Besides, the additional chief secretary and the principal secretary in the Home Department gave it in writing that they did not receive any intelligence alerts from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, but Roy said otherwise.

The Pradhan Committee also called into question the crisis management system in the police as well as the government. It points out that the Quick Response Team (QRT) set up to counter terrorists was divided on what the response should be and could not put up any resistance. The QRT was not trained to handle hostage situations. The system needs to be reviewed urgently, it said.

The full report was scathing in its comments on the state of coastal security too, terming it cosmetic and wondering if it was being taken up seriously at all.