‘The morale of the Mumbai police was down’

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Photo: Indian Express

Your report talked of the ‘poor leadership’ of then police chief Hasan Gafoor. Why was he singled out?
It was not the fault-finding committee it was made out to be. We were to identify the lapses made and give suggestions. The 26/11 attack was the most unusual in the country’s history. The Mumbai Police dealt with it with utmost urgency. Hasan Gafoor himself reached the Trident as soon as he could. What we have said is that Gafoor did not display visible command and control. There was neither any clean chit nor a scapegoat.

When you say that the Mumbai Police did a good job, how can you say that the team leader failed?
Ever since the report has come out, the only thing being discussed is scapegoats! In our interactions, police officers said there should have been more communication from the person giving orders. Most of them ended up working on their own. Hasan Gafoor is an excellent person and officer. But he was not in command of the situation.

The report also says the Mumbai Police was ill-prepared.
Let me put this on record. No police force of any place would have been able to deal with an attack of such intensity. We were not dealing with IEDs or blasts but terrorists with AK-47s, firing randomly. Yes, we lacked the ammunition required in such a situation. But that’s for the government to see. Ours was an administrative enquiry to speedily give guidelines on what went wrong and what needs to be done.

Is the police better prepared now?
I don’t think action has been taken. I am not satisfied with the steps taken by the government so far, but it looks like it is serious about taking initiative.

The then state intelligence chief, D Sivanandan, has been given a clean chit and made the new Police Commissioner.
I don’t want to comment on that. As for intelligence, there were lapses at the state level. There were procedural deficiencies in intelligence gathering and transmitting. The systems set up to deal with situations like this were not put to use.

What about the NSG?
JK Dutt has done perhaps the most commendable job in the entire operation. He was there motivating his team and briefing the media at the right time when there was confusion about the number of terrorists present. He did a good job of mobilising the troops.

I do not think action has been taken yet to make the Mumbai Police better prepared post 26/11

Did you expect the same of Gafoor?
I’m not saying that. I am talking of mobilising of forces, bringing everyone in your confidence. It’s about crisis management. Every officer in the Mumbai Police risked his life; the problem was with proper mobilisation and command. The morale of the police was down, no doubt, and it was disheartening to see that many of them had not received their due.

Committees have been formed earlier too, but the recommendations have just stayed on paper.
I am not saying that the Mumbai Police will suddenly start functioning on the lines of the recommendations. Yes, what we would like to see is the Mumbai Police working towards the interest of the people. It is also up to the civil society now to play the role of auditor rather than us doing the job.

The committee looked at the police call log records. Both ATS chief Karkare and Additional CP Date made desperate calls for help. Why were reinforcements not sent?
I don’t want to comment because the Kasab trial is still on.

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