Focus

Damning late Hasan Gafoor for others’ follies

By S.M. Mushrif

The book, The Siege - The Attack on the Taj, authored by Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark and published by Penguin Books India, is a classic example of suppressio veri [Concealment of truth.] and suggestio falsi [suggestion of an untruth], as is evident from the analysis of some of its important contents. The authors have tried their best to cover up the wrong doings at the CST, Cama Hospital, Rangabhavan lane and Girgaum Chowpatty and to protect the real conspirators and perpetrators including some senior officers of Mumbai police and the IB, by imputing their intentional acts of omission and commission to others.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Here I am dealing only with the point concerning the utter injustice done to the  then commissioner of police Mumbai, late Mr. Hasan Gafoor. In this book, the authors have imputed many wrong decisions taken during the 26/11 attack to Mr. Gafoor, e.g.,
1)  In the night of the attack Mr. Gafoor gave clearance to the high profile party to be held on the most expensive yatch ‘Alysia’, anchored 500 meters from the Taj by diluting many mandatory security restrictions and himself accepted the invitation (pp. 59-61);
2) “On the day of the attack at 10.00 pm he was nowhere to be seen” (p. 83);
3) “He had dispatched many units of the 16000-strong State Reserve Police Force elsewhere in Maharashtra (p. 83). [A totally wrong statement as the State Reserve Police did not come under Mumbai Police Commissioner];
4) “Contrary to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), Mr. Gafoor directed Jt. C.P. (Crime) Mr. Rakesh Maria to run the Control Room and sent the Jt. C.P. (Law & Order) (name not mentioned) for crisis management to Taj.” (p. 83);
5) “Mr. Gafoor sat outside the Trident-Oberoi Hotel in his staff car, when he was required to lead the force from the front in the field. He remained invisible to the besieged citizens” (pp. 128-129);
6) “Following Gafoor’s instruction to take on gunman inside the besieged building (of Taj), small units of police and soldiers aimlessly circled the hotel... They were to stand down until the NSG arrived. Mr. Rakesh Maria had called for it almost immediately. Let the correct agency handle it, the commissioner argued paralyzing the whole emergency response network” (p.129);
7) “Petwal turned to the others, ‘I am hundred percent sure there are only four terrorists, and they are in that room (room no 551) together’, he urged. ‘We have to move on them now’. Patil hesitated. Commissioner Gafoor had told everyone to wait for the NSG or MARCOS.” (p. 135);
8) “Finally, Commissioner Gafoor called in and Patil represented a fait accompli; ‘Sir there are three terrorists in 632 and two in the lobby. In all there are five terrorists. I have people with me. I need help immediately.’” “Commissioner Gafoor said, ‘Understood’. But amid the chaos of the multiple attacks, he had not heard Patil or chose not to listen to him, as he hung up without issuing any new orders” (p. 137);
9) “Two gunmen had been shot in Chowpatty. ‘Where are the bodies?’ Maria demanded, calling Chowpatty’s Asstt. Commissioner. ‘One is killed, but one is alive, the officer revealed. Maria was stunned. This was a huge result. Was the tide turning? He called for his staff car, readying to interrogate the prisoner. But before he got out of the door, Commissioner Gafoor rang, telling him to stay put. This was Chowpatty’s jurisdiction and its Additional Commissioner would be in charge. Maria was incandescent.” (p. 148);
10) “Rajvardhan looked stunned. He was expected to find the lobby bristling with Quick Response Teams, armed with their AK-47s and 9mm pistols, dressed in bullet proof vests and light weight helmets, but only a few officers were milling about. There was no rescue operation in play? The JC (L and O) shrugged ‘Police Commissioner Gafoor ordered the QRTs to seal the perimeter’. For the slim built man who kept his own counsel, this was as good as slugging off” (p. 195);
11) “That left the chambers invisible to the world, but easily accessed through the service corridors, the hotel’s private club was the obvious choice for evacuation, especially as among those stranded were politicians and assorted tycoons with powerful voices. ‘OK’, said Karambir, ‘let’s do the chambers’. Preparing to assist, the JC (L & O) called through to the Police Control Room, requesting backup. Commissioner Gafoor, still stationed in his car outside the Trident hotel, flatly refused. ‘You have the MARCOS. Stand down until the NSG arrive’” (p. 207);
12) “Still irked by Gafoor’s decision to stand down and put all his hopes in the National Security Guard, Maria grappled with the line of command. Why was he pinned down in the Control Room doing a job that someone else could have done and perhaps better? As Joint Commissioner Crime he should have been out there fighting in the streets or in the Taj lobby, rather than stuck, high and dry, liaising with the force across the city. The commissioner was still in his car part near the Trident-Oberoi” (p. 231).
It is absolutely unfair and unethical on the part of the authors to impute all wrong decisions and serious acts of omissions and commissions to the then C.P. Mr. Hasan Gafoor, especially when he is not alive to defend himself, unless the authors’ averment are backed by concrete evidence such as Mr. Gafoor’s orders in writing or the recorded W/L communication of the Control Room, containing Mr. Gaffor’s directions to the officers or to the Control Room. I am sure there are none. The authors seem to be out to shield others’ blunders by blaming them on late Mr. Gafoor. This is outright defamation.
The writer is a former IG Police, Maharashtra,
and author of the famous book, Who Killed Karkare?

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-30 September 2015 on page no. 1

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