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Updated: November 27, 2013 02:17 IST

‘A mole in Mumbai helped 26/11 attackers’

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“We had given certain information which could have helped to identify the mole... I had given a note on this point”. This May 27, 2009 photo shows Mr. Pradhan (left) presenting the administrative committee report on the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks to the then Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Ashok Chavan, in Mumbai.
The Hindu “We had given certain information which could have helped to identify the mole... I had given a note on this point”. This May 27, 2009 photo shows Mr. Pradhan (left) presenting the administrative committee report on the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks to the then Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Ashok Chavan, in Mumbai.

An interview with Ram Pradhan, former Union Home Secretary

Former Union Home Secretary Ram Pradhan had led the two-man inquiry into the administration’s response to the 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai. Five years after the attack, he spoke to Priyanka Kakodkar and made a new revelation. He said that the R.D. Pradhan Committee had informed the then Home Minister P. Chidambaram about the possibility of a mole in Mumbai who had assisted in the terror attack. However, he does not know what action was taken on it. He also said the central intelligence agencies did not cooperate with the committee. Excerpts:

The Siege, a new book on 26/11 by two British journalists, made the claim that there was local support to the attack in the form of a mole in the Indian security establishment. Your comments on this.

There was no doubt in our mind when we prepared our report that Kasab and the other terrorists could not have executed this assault without local support. I have mentioned it in my communication with the State government. But more than that — and now I can say this for the first time — I had also brought it to the notice of the then Union Home Minister Mr. P. Chidambaram. I had given him a note on the reasons why we had come to the conclusion that there was a mole in Mumbai who was assisting the terrorists. We had given sufficient information and suggested this matter be pursued and the mole identified as soon as possible. I do not know what happened to that. But the fact is, now, it has come up in several publications including the evidence given by Headley. Headley himself was one of the moles, depending on other moles who were already there. This information is now available to everyone through newspapers and media channels. My question is why have we been tardy in identifying who was or who were the people who acted as moles? We had given this information within three months of the attack.

Did you give any details on what kind of mole this was?

We had given certain information which could have helped to identify the mole. I would not say more than that because after five years, I cannot claim that I have all the information in my head. But I had given a note on this point. A short note of 15-20 lines, where all the information we had was handed over.

Are you satisfied with the State government’s response to the recommendations in your report?

I am told that the Home Minister of Maharashtra has said our report has been implemented fully. My comment would be that it’s not a correct statement. What has or has not been implemented should be placed in front of the people.

Did you get the cooperation you asked for while compiling the report?

Ours was not a commission of inquiry but an administrative one. We had no right to enforce attendance of officers to tender evidence. Despite that, all the officers from Maharashtra cooperated with us. But I must say with regret that the Central agencies did not cooperate for their own reasons. We had no input from the Central agencies despite our repeated requests. Also, we were given restrictive terms of reference. We could not really go beyond the State agencies. The IB and RAW and others were kept out of the purview possibly at the behest of the Central government. We were given three months’ time and wanted to complete the inquiry within that time. We didn’t want to bring out an academic report but we wanted to have a report which could be operational and quickly studied and implemented.

You had recommended that CCTV footage from public locations should be accessed by the police to improve security. Are you satisfied with the response?

Our recommendation came from our study on what was done in the United States after 9/11. They installed CCTVs in public places and there was a sense of participation. We know we do not have the resources they do, so we had suggested installing CCTVs in places like railway stations and department stores. So, if an incident takes place, there is at least something to see. From what I read in the papers, what they have done is really not adequate. There are reasons like government procedures and the tendering system. But in a situation like this, it is up to seniors especially ministers to make sure public interest is given priority.

Your report had been critical of the lack of ammunition and equipment provided to the Mumbai police. Do you feel this has improved?

We had pointed out that constables were getting to practise firing only once a year because of the lack of ammunition. They were carrying guns more like lathis. Bulletproof jackets were not really bulletproof. Even today, I read in the media that the situation is the same. If this is correct, then there has been negligence in these matters.

priyanka.k@thehindu.co.in

People do not understand as to why there is lot of negligence on the
part of central intelligence agencies even on very sensitive issues.But
for the Pradhan committee the local mole would not have been
noticed.Again the public would not have come to know this but for the
above interview.Certainly there is sinister attempts to hide many things
in our country.It is sad that agencies such as NIA,IB,CBI,ED etc are
susceptible to pressure from political masters.Witness the progress made
in the investigations into Bangalore,Bodh Gaya and Patna blasts.There
appears to be no headway in the investigations, possibly due to
political interference.

from:  S.Srinivasan
Posted on: Nov 28, 2013 at 15:49 IST

It is imperative that this so called "mole" is caught immediately
otherwise another incident like 26/11 will happen with the help of same
"mole" still not apprehended.

from:  venu
Posted on: Nov 28, 2013 at 10:06 IST

This is something that should be obvious even to a layman. Without
inside help such an operation could not have been executed. Not one
Desi mole, perhaps many more. Perhaps due to secular considerations,
both the State and Central govts. did not probe further.

from:  kvjayan
Posted on: Nov 27, 2013 at 22:09 IST

It is impending upon the Government to give reasons for not taking adequate steps in identifying the mole in Indian establishment even after getting leads from the administrative committee. Life of Indian citizens is not an executive prerogative of the Government. Has the government forgotten the sacrifice of our police officers and army, or is it “too old and weak” to act swiftly. In matters related to security of nation, relinquishment of duty on the part of the concerned minister warrants punitive action.

from:  Mahesh Ashok Kulakrni
Posted on: Nov 27, 2013 at 16:48 IST

Interview published with R.D.Pradhan who headed the two-member
committee appointed on Mumbai 26/11 attacks brought out credible
information to the "Aam aadmi" of this nation.

One cannot understand ,why the Indian government is so
apathetic to the report and other intelligence feed backs which
clearly state of a "local" support for the attack.

Even a commoner is now clear that such a large siege
cannot be possible without "moles" , but it is very unfortunate that
the agencies and the executive machinery were tardy in identifying the
people who acted as "moles" .

from:  HAVISH MADDURI
Posted on: Nov 27, 2013 at 15:07 IST

Sir, who is indifferent to the event of 26/11 and led to happen? the great Home minister who is supposed to be the able minister who can tackle every issue is responsible for this tragedy. Telengana issue is also his creation."we have no input from the central agencies inspite of repeated requests.there is no cooperation from centre"said former union home secretary.what is meant by it? but for India everything is normal.we are used to all these ,people dying ,netas planning their strategy,slogans like we will crush terrorism etc.

from:  kvl shanta
Posted on: Nov 27, 2013 at 09:56 IST

it is a very funny situation in india that security issues or also dealt by media and governments on so-called 'secular ideology". it is dangerous for the nation as well as these secular people and their future generations also. on this bombay attack, u.s. intelligence agencies have provided whole telephonic conversations of attackers and this must also include local contacts. after the attack i read in a newspaper that a police picket was use to be posted on the site where kasab & co. landed in bombay near taj. but this police unit was shifted on that crucial night as some demonstration was organised some where in bombay. so the person who organised shifting of the police from that point should have been investigated. like wise there are hundreds of leads on this incident which can further expose the conspiracy but administration and our media just overlook. but why? this bombay attack was organised after years of planning. but no body tells where kasab was heading when he was caught.

from:  R. Pandya
Posted on: Nov 27, 2013 at 09:56 IST

UPA government was more vocal to give the Mumbai attacks a twist by claiming that it was the handiwork of RSS affiliates, claimed by ex CM antulay and other senior leaders. When the fact about Indian help was raised the govt curbed all such news. Whether its another vote bank reason or some other time will tell.

from:  Aditya
Posted on: Nov 27, 2013 at 09:12 IST

It is very disheartening to hear that beautification of government buildings holds priority than safety of the people. It can be seen that Crores of money is spent on maintenance of govt and political party villas / bldgs, but only lakhs are spent on public safety and security. Now that is India and have to cope with it, everyone says India is a poor country, then how on earth are their billion crore rupees worth corruption / misappropriation cases in existence?

from:  Thrilok Chandar
Posted on: Nov 27, 2013 at 05:33 IST

It took 5 years to identify that there was a mole. How many decades will it take to capture that mole.

from:  Ragu
Posted on: Nov 27, 2013 at 03:58 IST

Wait for another such 26/11 attack and then it would start all over again - chest thumping,govt minister statement that perpetrators would be brought to justice, all the security holes would be plugged... and the list goes on. India deserves what it gets because the people it chooses for the elected offices who are supposed to make things better but they don't and instead indulge in theft, general incompetence and vote bank politics for short-term gains.

from:  Suvojit Dutta
Posted on: Nov 27, 2013 at 02:43 IST
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