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26/11: Taj, Oberoi ignored prior security alerts?

December 22, 2009 15:47 IST
The high-level committee that probed the Mumbai 26/11 attacks has blamed the management of Taj and Oberoi hotels for ignoring the security advice given to them much ahead of the terror strikes.

The Ram Pradhan committee report, which was tabled in the Maharashtra assembly on Monday, has observed that both the hotel authorities did not implement certain important security advice given to them by the deputy commissioner of police, zone-1 because of their 'own policy perspective as hospitality industry.'

Following an Intelligence Bureau alert on September 24, 2008, about Lashkar-e-Tayiba  'showing interest' on certain targets, including Taj, a meeting was held with the hotels' security officials on September 29.

The meeting was presided over by deputy commissioner of police, zone-I, with Karam Bir Kang, general manager of the hotel. The police officer visited Taj on September 30 again to brief the security staff personally. The panel has found that no specific requests were made from Taj or other hotels to augment the police security for them in view of alerts.

The DCP was alerted on June 26 the same year about the possible attack at Leopold Cafe besides Bombay High Court and the office of the Director General of Police, Department of Atomic Energy and Naval installations.

The DCP visited the concerned police station and instructed the senior police inspector to take immediate steps to remove hawkers in front of Leopold Cafe.

He again visited the cafe on August 11 and 24. Accordingly, the police removed hawkers from the site.

The senior police inspector, who appeared before the commission, deposed that 92 cases were registered against illegal hawkers between August 24 and November 25. During the Mumbai terror attack at Leopold Cafe, three hawkers were killed in the firing.

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