Reality of counter-terror ops: ego wars derail India’s war on terrorism
Lack of coordination, ego clashes, personal dislike for a particular officer spilling over to professional domain and maintaining unnecessary secrecy due to competitiveness bordering jealousy. This is the reality of counter-terror operations. Rajesh Ahuja reports. IM story: Modest origins to suicide attacksindia Updated: Feb 25, 2013 01:20 IST
Lack of coordination, ego clashes, personal dislike for a particular officer spilling over to professional domain and maintaining unnecessary secrecy due to competitiveness bordering jealousy. This is the reality of counter-terror operations in the country after the 26/11 attacks.
After the Mumbai attacks, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) was created with a view to have a specialised agency for probing terror attacks.
But every time an attack takes place, the NIA is found looking at the ministry of home affairs (MHA) mandarins to check whether the case will be handed over to it or not. The MHA has adopted a piecemeal approach in handing cases of the NIA.
Some cases were immediately handed over to the NIA, like the 2011 Delhi HC blast but the probe in last year’s Pune blast is yet to be given to the agency.
Similarly, it is yet to be decided whether the NIA will probe Hyderabad twin blasts or not.
If the NIA is hamstrung, the state police units have been fighting over who got the first lead on a module.
In late 2011, the Kolkata police and the Delhi police fought over who exactly got the first lead on the Darbhanga module of the Indian Mujahideen (IM) led by Yasin Bhatkal, who is now the prime suspect in the Hyderbad blast case.
Under the patronage of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), the Delhi police became the lead investigating agency in the case.
It didn't go down well with the Kolkata police, but they chose to keep quite as they had already burnt their hands over Bhatkal, who had been let off from their custody as they had wrongly assumed that he was a thief or at the most a hawala operator.
The ugly imbroglio of early 2012 between the Delhi and Mumbai police over Naquee Ahmed, a terror suspect who was part of the Darbhanga module of the Indian Mujahideen, was another such example.
Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS) claimed that Naquee Ahmed was involved in the conspiracy to carry out bomb blasts in Mumbai on July 13, 2011, but the Delhi police said Naquee was their informer who helping them to nab Yasin Bhatkal.
The Delhi police had mounted a secret operation with Naquee's help to nab Bhatkal.
It became a running feud until a senior officer of the IB was sent to Mumbai by the then home minister P Chidambaram to calm the atmosphere.
It were not only that state police having fueds, Intellience Bureau also saw an ego war which could have been at best avoided.
The operations unit of the agency was kept out of loop on certain counter-terror operations.