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26/11 report finds serious lapses on Gafoor's part

Last updated on: December 21, 2009 19:53 IST
A high-level committee appointed by the Maharashtra government to go into the Mumbai terror strikes has found serious lapses on the part of the then Mumbai Police Commissioner Hasan Gafoor in handling the 'war-like' multi-pronged attack.

However, the two-member committee did not find any serious lapses to act or react on the part of individual officers and policemen of the Mumbai Police.

"There was absence of overt leadership on the part of Hasan Gafoor, the CP, and lack of visible command and control at the CP's office," said the report prepared by former Governor and Union Home Secretary R D Pradhan.

The report tabled by Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil in the assembly today said the committee found several lacunae in working, both within Mantralaya -- the state secretariat, and the police establishment.

"Well set out procedures for handling intelligence and 'Crisis Management' were overlooked. These require urgent attention," Pradhan said in his note to Chief Minister Ashok Chavan presenting the report of the committee which also had as member V Balachandran, former special secretary in the cabinet secretariat.

The report said the 'war-like' attack was beyond the capacity of the Mumbai Police -- for that matter of any police set up.

It had to be tackled by specialised forces such as the National Security Guards. "However, we find that the CP Mumbai did not exhibit adequate initiative in handling the multi-pronged attack. He remained at one spot near Trident Hotel throughout the operations," it stated.

"Moreover several senior officers told us that those three days, the CP did not give any directions nor enquired of ongoing operations. We found that although the CP kept in touch on wireless and mobile on selective basis, several officers felt that they did not get a feeling that they were part of a team," the report said.

The committee said 'we have come to the conclusion that there was absence of visible and overt leadership on the part of Hasan Gafoor, the CP.'

The committee did not find any failure to act on inputs provided by the central intelligence agencies. It had a word of praise for the then Director General of Police A N Roy, who it found that throughout the operations, he made himself available to provide information and offered help while taking care not to intrude into the functioning of Mumbai Police officers.

The committee recommended that the Quick Response Teams formed in 2003 should be urgently upgraded and strengthened to promptly and effectively counter such attacks, till more specialised forces come on the scene.

It also furnished a blue print for their reorganisation, training, equipment and service conditions. The committee said the state of preparedness of police administration in other major cities of Maharashtra to face Mumbai-like attacks required to be reviewed by a team of experts and necessary steps taken.

"In particular, we cannot overlook that the police of Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai must have an integrated action plan. This region should not be dealt on the basis of administrative boundaries of the three Commissionerates. Further, administrative limits to DGP Maharahstra's powers to operate in Mumbai city should not inhibit action," it said.

Likewise, the committee said, working of several crisis management mechanism set up to deal with situations need to be reviewed in the light of experience of 26/11 in Mumbai.

This will require looking into setups within the Mantralaya, Municipal Corporations, hospitals, fire brigades etc. The committee said it was impressed with the promptness with which the control room of the CP's office handled communications on 26/11.

Their meticulous recordings and transcriptions in the absence of CCTVs helped the committee get the correct picture of unfolding of events at five different places and reactions of individual officers to act and react.

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