‘Gafoor was promoted, Not transferred’

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Maharashtra Home Minister Jayant Patil tells Rana Ayyub that the police force did a good job on 26/11 through its good leadership

Photos: Anshuman/DNA

Why was only a part of the Pradhan Committee report, comprising just the Action Taken Report (ATR), presented on the last day of the Assembly?
We tabled the ATR after the Pradhan Committee report was submitted last month. How could we table the entire report which contains sensitive information regarding the 26/11 trial? I’m sure even Mr Chidambaram knows that.

Has there been any communication with the Union Home Minister after the ATR was tabled?
No. The chief minister will brief him whenever asked.

What has been the government’s reaction to the report?
The report says that the police officials did a good job, but the leadership was missing. The committee has made certain recommendations. We are considering those and will implement them in the next three months.

Your ministers are against the transfer of Mumbai Police Commissioner Hasan Gafoor. They believe he was made the scapegoat and are now asking for the formation of a second committee.
Gafoor was not transferred; he was promoted. He did an exemplary job. The report says that the police force did a good job. They could only do that because of the right orders from their leader. Gafoor was in control of the situation and was surveying the city in contrast to what the report says. I don’t think there is the need for any other committee.

It’s surprising that D Sivanandan, criticised for his role as the State Intelligence Department chief during the 26/11 attacks, has been appointed the Mumbai Police Commissioner.
I don’t think Sivanandan or his team were at fault. The problem was not about intelligence gathering, but the way the information flows down.

It appears that the entire report was not tabled because some your ministers would have come in the line of fire.
The report was meant to look into the performance of the police officers and not the ministers.

Former NSG chief JK Dutt told TEHELKA that the Mumbai police was ill-prepared. It did not even have the basic requirements like city maps or the number of terrorists.
The NSG was not here to survey the roads for which it would require maps! Our police force briefed them in the best possible manner as soon as they landed in Mumbai.

I have heard both Vinita Kamte and Rakesh Maria’s stories. I am convinced that there is no foul play

But it is obvious from the police transcripts that there was a delay in sending reinforcements.
Joint Police Commissioner (Crime) Rakesh Maria was manning the control room on the night of the attack. I think he worked efficiently in getting the information, transmitting it and sending the force. How much can a person do in 20 minutes when the attack is on a massive scale and at multiple places? How can one say that Kasab and Ismail wouldn’t have left Cama Hospital if the force had arrived? There was no time wasted. They were not at the hospital for very long.

Both Hemant Karkare and Ashok Kamte’s wives have expressed displeasure at the way the police was given a clean chit. They have also accused Rakesh Maria of trying to pressurise RTI officials into not giving information.
Vinita Kamte did come to me and expressed her apprehensions. But I am convinced that there is no foul play. I have heard both sides of the story, Mrs Kamte’s as well as Mr Maria’s. I don’t think there is any kind of mishandling.

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