The decision to call the National Security Guards (NSG) commandos during the 26/11 terror attacks was taken because the police were not equipped to handle the situation and lives had to be saved, former chief secretary Johny Joseph said on Wednesday.
Joseph had called the NSG during the terror attacks.
A 1972 batch Indian Administrative Service officer who retired on November 30, considers the 26/11 attacks as the biggest challenge in his 37-year-long service. “Within an hour of the attack, we realised that the situation was difficult,” Joseph told Hindustan Times. “The union cabinet secretary and I were convinced that only a force like the NSG could handle it. By 10.40, I called the NSG.”
He spoke to then Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and his deputy R R Patil before calling for the NSG.
Joseph refused to comment on former Mumbai police commissioner Hasan Gafoor claims in a magazine interview that a top police official was not happy with the decision to call the NSG. He also kept mum on the allegations against Mumbai crime branch chief Rakesh Maria by Vinita Kamte, wife of slain police officer Ashok Kamte.
The 60-year-old was also at the helm of affairs as municipal commissioner during the deluge of July 26, 2005 when he faced flak for the failure of the civic administration. “But the civic body improved its mechanism to handle floods. I am happy I could kickstart projects like the Mithi river cleanup,” Joseph said.
During his tenure of two years and seven months, Joseph worked with four chief ministers as in-charge of the chief minister’s office and later as chief secretary. “I think I was never a part of the problem but was part of solution,” said Joseph who has taken over as Upa Lokayukta.
Joseph is planning to write a memoir. “I have seen Maharashtra’s transition in politics and government closely which will reflect in the book,” he said. Joseph, who counts the Mumbai metro and other infrastructure projects among his successes, said, “Delays mostly happen due to human issues. You can’t throw out people if they come in the way of projects.”