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26/11 panel member slams govt for hiding report

Mtoday news

Mumbai, Nov 26: Two years after 26/11, V Balachandran, member of the Ram Pradhan committee which probed the attacks, has criticised the Maharashtra government for not making the report public. He, however, said Mumbai is now better prepared to face another 26/11.

Balachandran demanded that Maharashtra government should make the report public. He asks why even after two years of the 26/11 attacks, the Pradhan Report is still ’classified’.

"They should publish the report for the public knowledge because this is their security, not VIP security," Balachandran said.

"It is not a classified document. It was a chronicle of what the police did and some of them have done commendable work. And also, this was our assessment about how certain situations can be avoided," he said.

"That shows a typical orthodox bent of mind of the beaurocracy that such reports should not be read by the public," Balachandran said.

Balachandran also reacted sharply to P Chidambaram’s comment that the report contained "what we all knew" and questioned the view.

"We were not asked to write a Dan Brown mystery. So, in that way, there was nothing sensational. We are not writing sensational reports. I do not want to criticise Chitambaran, I have a lot of respect for him," he said.

Balachandran said his contention is that the people have a right to know and claimed that even senior cops haven’t read the report.

"I was quite shocked when senior police officers from Maharashtra came and told me that they’ve not even seen the report. So, what is the use of spending money over a committee on a report which you don’t read at all," said Balachandran.

Balachandran said he feels the terror-traumatised country could expect a much better response to prevent a repeat of 26/11.

"Yes, I can confidently say that if there is another type of 26/11 attack on Mumbai or any other coastal city, we are in a much better position," he said.

Ram Pradhan Commitee was a 2-member committee set-up to probe the lapses that led to 26/11 attacks. Set-up in Dec 2008, it was asked to recommend steps to prevent such attacks.

Ex-governor Ram Pradhan and ex-IPS officer V Balachandran were its members. The committee, which was given a two-month deadline, submitted its report in May 2009.

The report was "classified" by Maharashtra government on May 30, 2009 for ’security reasons’. Subsequently, the government tabled the ’action-taken-report’ without tabling the Pradhan panel report.

On the eve of the second anniversary of the most horrific terror strike this country has witnessed, the question remains whether the political class and the police administration learnt their lessons at all or are even willing to.

While the entire 9/11 Commission Report is available on the internet along with the action taken report, the 26/11 report, which many call India’s 9/11, is gathering dust.

Key findings of the Ram Pradhan report:

Lack of overt & visible leadership during attacks

Poor handling of several intelligence inputs

Command and control failure in handling crisis

Severe lack of equipment, training for personnel

Poor appreciation of threat perception


26/11: India asks Pakistan for time-bound justice

New Delhi, Nov 25 : A day before the second anniversary of the Mumbai terror attack, India Thursday conveyed to Pakistan regret at the lack of ’substantial progress’ in the 26/11 probe and pressed Islamabad for a ’time-bound’ fulfilment of its pledge to bring the perpetrators of the carnage to justice.

Regretting the lack of ’substantive and verifiable progress’ in the 26/11 probe despite India’s extensive cooperation in connection with the ongoing trial and investigation in Pakistan, New Delhi sent a strongly-worded note verbale to the Pakistani high commission here.

’India has once again called upon Pakistan to fulfil its stated commitment to bring all the perpetrators of the Mumbai terrorist attacks to justice and unravel the larger conspiracy behind the attacks,’ the external affairs ministry said in a statement.

’A time-bound fulfilment of its stated commitments by Pakistan would not only go a long way towards building trust and confidence between the two countries but would also be a reflection of Pakistan’s commitment to combat terrorism comprehensively,’ the ministry said.

India made it clear that the ’lack of tangible progress in delivering on this vital commitment is increasingly being viewed in the Indian public opinion as dilatory and lacking in seriousness.’

Informed sources said India also asked Pakistan to provide information on 7 people involved in the Mumbai terror attacks, the names of who were forwarded by Home Minister P. Chidambaram to his Pakistani counterpart Rehman Malik in June in Islamabad. The list also included names of two officers in the Pakistani Army.

Sources added that India also reminded Pakistan about its request for voice samples of Pakistan-based ’handlers’ of the 10 Pakistani terrorists, who stormed Mumbai on Nov 26, 2008 in which 166 people were killed.



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