If the former bureaucrat Ram Pradhan-led panel’s findings into the Mumbai terror attack are anything to go by, responsibility for the police debacle must lie with the senior-most official.
But former Mumbai Commissioner of Police Hasan Gafoor is the only officer singled out for criticism in the report.
It is, however, silent on the responsibility of the other senior official — then state director general of police AN Roy.
In fact, it quotes Roy in its findings to show the government’s failure at the highest level. This is perhaps the root of the disagreement between the panel and the state home department.
The state is unwilling to accept the failure of its Mumbai police chief, though it “promoted” Gafoor as director general (housing), two days before tabling its Action Taken Report (ATR).
“I don’t want to make anybody the scapegoat,’’ Chief Minister Ashok Chavan told mediapersons at the Vidhan Bhavan on Tuesday.
The report has specifically pointed out that Gafoor lacked “leadership qualities’’.
It has also blamed him for not taking control of the command centre during the terror siege, for not being in touch with the police units and camping at the Trident hotel instead.
Due to lack of coordinated effort, the general public got the impression that the police were ineffective in handling the attack.
Several officers said Gafoor did not guide or inquire about the operations undertaken, the report said.
But defending Gafoor in the ATR, the state home department pointed out that the report has not bothered to put on record his written response to the panel.
“This view is not acceptable. He was in touch with police units throughout. He asked Maria to handle the control room, whose work was praised,’’ the ATR stated.
YP Singh, IPS official-turned-lawyer agreed: “The blaming of police commissioner seems to be based on vague opinion rather than evidence. I think the report shields a lot of other officials, including Roy, and hence has not been made public.”
While the report has not praised Roy, it has given him a clean chit.
But the ATR has snubbed Roy for information given to the panel over ammunition shortage. The committee quotes Roy as saying: “The purchasing of ammunition and weapons for the state police is a problem.”
Chavan said: “The information in the report quoting Roy is wrong. In our Action Taken Report, we have attached information got from the DG office over purchases done in the last four years. There was no shortage in ammunition, as claimed.’’
It has also attached two annexures pointing to purchases that the DGPs can make at own level and purchase proposals over Rs 25 lakh for last four years to show that the government’s delay was not inordinate.
“If there was any shortage, he is to be blamed,’’ pointed out a senior official, requesting anonymity.