Government did not react to alerts on Mumbai: Report

December 2nd, 2008 - 3:03 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 2 (IANS) Top government officials were Tuesday at a loss to explain why they did not react to information purported to have been given by the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India’s external intelligence agency, pinpointing the time frame, route and the Mumbai locations that would be attacked by the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).At least on four occasions and even on Nov 26, the day that 10 militants laid siege on high-profile targets, including the Oberoi Trident and the Taj hotels, RAW had tipped off the authorities of the impending attack by sea and even given information of the time, according to a media report.

“Yes, we gave the information as we had been intercepting these satellite phone conversations for a while. But don’t ask me why it was not acted upon,” said a senior RAW official who because of service rules cannot be named.

The Hindustan Times newspaper front-paged a report Tuesday that on Sep 18, Sep 24, Nov 19 and Nov 26, RAW had intercepted conversations between a LeT asset and an unknown person that an operation to target hotels was being planned and the sea route would be used.

“On November 19, RAW listeners picked up another unexplained satellite phone conversation. A voice said, ‘We will reach Bombay between nine and eleven.’ RAW trackers identified the exact coordinates of the call and discovered that it came from the sea near Mumbai, 40 km west of Jhol,” said the newspaper report.

According to RAW officials, the information was relayed to a centralised intelligence group set up by the National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan.

Officials in the Intelligence Bureau, the home ministry and the intelligence wing refused to comment on why the RAW inputs were not acted upon.

The government spokesperson was not available for comment.

At least 183 people, including 22 foreigners, were killed when a group of terrorists, allegedly from Pakistan, sneaked into Mumbai last week and struck at several prominent sites, including two luxury hotels.

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