Probe ordered into "lapses" of top Mumbai police officers

Other News Materials 18 December 2008 12:29 (UTC +04:00)

Indian authorities have announced an investigation into two top police officers for their failure to prevent the November 26 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, news reports said Thursday.

Opposition parties in the western state of Maharashtra, the capital of which is Mumbai, have demanded action against state police chief AN Roy and city police chief Hasan Gafoor, reported dpa.

They said Roy and Gafoor had failed to take action on intelligence warnings of last month's attacks that left more than 170 people dead.

State Chief Minister Ashok Chavan has ordered a high-level investigation into the two senior policemen. "Most likely, the task will be entrusted to a retired bureaucrat," a senior official told the Times of India newspaper.

India's former interior minister Shivraj Patil, Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, and his deputy, RR Patil, resigned soon after the attacks.

The report said Chavan was of the view that since senior ministers had quit, admitting moral responsibility for the attacks, senior bureaucrats and top police brass should not escape their responsibilities either.

"It appears that the officials and policemen did not take serious note of the intelligence bureau's inputs. As a result we failed miserably to prevent the attacks," the official said.

India's new Home Minister P Chidambaram recently admitted there were security "lapses" in the terrorist attacks. He said the lapses were being investigated and their causes would be addressed soon.

Maharashtra opposition leader Ramdas Kadam from the regional Hindu nationalist Shiv Sena party alleged that Roy had prevented senior police officer Vijay Salaskar from taking action against local businessman Jagdish Joshi, who was associated with Mumbai crimelord Dawood Ibrahim.

Ibrahim, believed to be in Pakistan, is wanted by Indian police in the 1993 Mumbai bombings and is suspected to be linked with the recent attacks as well.

Kadam also accused Gafoor of laxity during the attacks, saying the police official was sitting in his car outside the Oberoi-Trident hotel when it was attacked by the terrorists.

"I woke him up from his slumber. He should have been on the streets," Kadam was quoted as saying.

India has blamed the Pakistan-based militant organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) for the attacks. It has halted a five-year peace dialogue with Pakistan, demanding that it take action against anti-Indian militants operating from its soil.

Islamabad has offered a joint investigation and has cracked down on an outlawed Islamic charity, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, which was declared a front for LeT by the United Nations Security Council.

It has also asked for concrete evidence from India to prove Pakistani nationals committed the terrorist attacks.

Meanwhile, Indian security agencies have moved to secure the country's nuclear installations, as well as famous monuments such as the Taj Mahal, fearing terrorist attacks.

The government introduced a no-fly zone in a 16-kilometre radius of the Kalpakkam nuclear reactor near the southern city of Chennai.

Police also strengthened their presence in the south-western resort state of Goa, following intelligence warnings it could come under attack during Christmas and New Year celebrations.