Cracking the whip on a senior leader from his own party, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Saturday slammed state home minister RR Patil for failing to effectively exert authority over his department.
Pawar made the comments during a press meet on Saturday, days after four low-intensity blasts left one person injured in Pune, and moments after a party meeting held in Mumbai.
“I have worked as home minister for 10 to 12 years. I know that the person handling law and order has to exert authority. Then the message goes to the lowest level. If this authority is lax, then a similar message percolates down the hierarchy and then the people have to pay for the consequences,” Pawar said.
The union agriculture minister’s criticism of his one-time protégé has fuelled speculation that Patil’s days as home minister are numbered. In 2008, Pawar had made Patil resign from that post after the 26/11 Mumbai terror siege, reinstating him in 2009.
On Saturday, Pawar added that he had given clear directives to Patil to focus on the terror issue and act against officials who were not ‘results-oriented’.
The NCP chief also slammed the state home department over the delay in installing CCTV cameras, a security feature promised to Mumbai after 26/11.
“I have been told that officials went to London, studied surveillance systems,” Pawar said. “After four years, if you can’t issue a tender, it reflects poorly on the administration.’’
Blasts a serious incident: Shinde
Describing Wednesday’s Pune serial blast as a ‘serious incident’, union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde (above) on Saturday indicated that there has been no major breakthrough in the investigation.
“We have taken Pune incident very seriously and will announce all the details once the investigation is completed,” Shinde told reporters, after meeting official from investigating agencies at the Pune police commissionerate.
Shinde did not visit the blast sites, but met Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan at Lohegaon airport.