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Updated: March 17, 2010 01:00 IST

Pune blast a blot on our record: Chidambaram

Special Correspondent
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Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram speaks in the Lok Sabha in New Delhi on Tuesday.
PTI
Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram speaks in the Lok Sabha in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Tuesday said the bomb blast in Pune's German Bakery on February 13 despite the Centre sharing enough intelligence about the terror threat was a “blot on our record.”

Seventeen persons including some foreigners were killed in the blast.

Mr. Chidambaram claimed that there was no intelligence failure as enough information was shared with the Maharashtra police about specific targets in Pune. In turn, the Pune police on October 9, 2009, sent advisories to various establishments, including the German Bakery and its manager Praveen Pant even acknowledged receipt of the police's letter. But the German Bakery and some other establishments did not pay heed to the warning. Again in December 2009, the same advisory was reiterated.

The Minister, who was responding to a supplementary question in the Lok Sabha on the Pune blast, said: “Despite the intelligence shared, despite the advisories issued, the Pune blast occurred. It is a blot. I regard that as a blot on our record.”

The Centre monitors and reviews the internal security situation on a continuous basis. “Intelligence inputs are regularly shared with State governments and Union Territories and wherever necessary, advisories are also issued.”

Police modernisation

Mr. Chidambaram said the Centre helped the State governments under the police modernisation scheme to establish an elite Anti-Terrorist Force (ATF). Six States had so far raised their own ATFs. Some States had Quick Reaction Teams which were smaller units.

He urged all the States to have their own ATFs and promised Central assistance for procuring weapons, bullet-proof jackets and accessories. “If the States want to ride piggy back on the Centre they can give their requirement and need not undergo the tendering process.”

Bullet-proof jackets

On procuring bullet-proof jackets for the Central forces, he said the final decision on the tendering process would be taken on April 3 or 4.

He expressed confidence that threats from terrorists would be countered as things were improving, the capacity (of the police) was being strengthened and the police forces were becoming more efficient. “But it will take time to have a more strong anti-terrorist capacity in this country,” he said.

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