The state government is likely to serve a show cause notice to former Mumbai police commissioner Hassan Gafoor on Monday, for a media interview in which he claimed some senior police officers had hesitated to respond during the 26/11 terror attack.
This comes after Home Minister R R Patil took exception to Gafoor’s remarks. On Sunday, he confirmed to the media that he has asked Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Chandra Iyengar to investigate, and ask Gafoor for an explanation.
While Patil himself had to resign in the wake of the public fury that followed 26/11, an inquiry committee headed by former cabinet secretary Ram Pradhan said Gafoor had shown lack of vision and leadership during the crisis.
Patil got back his job as head of the Home Department in the new government that took over earlier this month. Given 26/11's impact on Patil’s political career, Gafoor's remarks — coming just as the state prepares for the first anniversary of the attack — were not what the minister wanted to hear.
Iyengar was unavailable for comment, but a senior home department official told Hindustan Times, requesting anonymity, that Iyengar has begun the process of consulting the officers involved. “Gafoor is likely to get a show cause notice on Monday,” he said. “Iyengar will submit her report to the minister soon.”
Gafoor met Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and Patil on Saturday and told them he was misquoted by the interviewer. Several aggrieved Indian Police Service (IPS) officers have also called on the two to express their concern and requested them to pull up Gafoor.
In a recent interview, Gafoor told The Week, a magazine, that four IPS officers — K L Prasad (then joint CP, Law and Order), Parambir Singh (then additional CP, ATS), Devendra Bharati (additional CP, crime) and K Venkateshan, (then additional CP, south region) — had not responded to the situation.
In the interview, Gafoor also said Patil and then director general of police A N Roy had suggested the withdrawal of the National Security Guard (NSG) from the attack sites — it was the NSG the eventually cleared and secured those sites.
Sr police officers denounce Gafoor
Senior IPS officers from the state have slammed Hasan Gafoor, the city’s commissioner of police during the 26/11 attacks, for accusing four of his subordinates of responding inadequately to the attacks.
In a recent interview to The Week, Gafoor — now Additional Director General of Police, (Police Housing) — reportedly accused K L Prasad (then joint CP, Law and Order), Parambir Singh (then additional CP, ATS), Devendra Bharati (additional CP, crime) and K Venkateshan, (then additional CP, south region) of dereliction of duty.
“It is highly objectionable to air such views publicly,” said former Mumbai commissioner of police (CP) M N Singh.
“If what he said is true, he had ample time and avenues to air
his views and get justice. Going
public with such allegations is simply outrageous,” Singh observed.
Singh said Gafoor had been criticised from several quarters for his inaction during 26/11. He said: “The general impression was his leadership was wanting. That was the opinion of the R D Pradhan Committee too. He is trying to find scapegoats through his rhetoric, if at all he has said so.”
However, Singh also said the entire controversy smacked of the state’s senior IPS circle ganging up against Gafoor. “The state should put an end to this groupism,” he said.
“I feel very upset. This is very unfortunate,” said Dr. P.S. Pasricha, former director general of police (DGP).
“At a time when we should be striving to win the confidence of the masses, we are showing a fracture in our system,” he said, adding, “if Gafoor made these remarks, he has damaged the system. All four are outstanding officers and such insinuation will damage their reputation.”
Pasricha said Gafoor should have followed procedure in dealing with his subordinates instead of going public. Gafoor did not respond to repeated attempts to contact him.