Govt backs Gafoor, snubs Roy
If the former bureaucrat Ram Pradhan-led panel’s findings into the 26/11 attacks is anything to go by, responsibility for the police debacle must be placed on the seniormost official. Ketaki Ghoge reports.india Updated: Jun 17, 2009 02:09 IST
If the former bureaucrat Ram Pradhan-led panel’s findings into the 26/11 attacks is anything to go by, responsibility for the police debacle must be placed on the seniormost official.
Former Mumbai police commissioner Hasan Gafoor is the only officer to be singled out for criticism in the report. It is, however, silent on the responsibility of Gafoor’s senior, then Maharashtra police chief A.N. Roy. It, in fact, quotes Roy in its findings to expose governmental 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 police chief, even though it ‘promoted’ Gafoor as DG (Housing), two days before tabling its Action Taken Report (ATR).
“I don’t want to make anybody the scapegoat,” said CM Ashok Chavan.
The report has specifically pointed out that Gafoor lacked “leadership qualities”. It has blamed him for not taking control of the command centre during the siege, for not being in touch with police units and camping at the Trident instead.
The lack of coordination led people to believe the police bungled in handling the attack. Several officers said Gafoor did not guide or inquire about the operations, says the report.
Defending Gafoor, the ATR said the report has not bothered to put on record his written response to the panel.
“This view is not acceptable. He (Gafoor) was in touch with police units throughout, he asked (Crime Branch chief Rakesh) Maria to handle the control room, whose work was praised,’’ says the ATR.
Y.P. Singh, IPS official-turned-lawyer agreed. “This was a systemic failure. Blaming the police commissioner seems to be based on a vague opinion rather than evidence. I think the report shields a lot of other officials, including Roy, and so has not been made public.'”
The report given Roy a clean chit.
The ATR, however, snubs Roy for information given to the panel over ammunition shortage. The panel quotes Roy as saying “purchasing ammunition and weapons for the state police is a problem’’. He had said policemen who are supposed to fire 40 rounds of ammunition every year couldn’t do so for the last five years because of this shortage.