Maharashtra sets up panel to probe Mumbai terror strikes (Lead)

December 30th, 2008 - 9:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Nagpur, Dec 30 (IANS) The Maharashtra government Tuesday announced a two-member committee to probe the 26/11 terror strike in Mumbai and fix the responsibility for lapses in handling the situation in its aftermath.The committee, to be headed by former union home secretary Ram Pradhan, will investigate the attacks, which left over 170 people dead and nearly 300 injured Nov 26, Chief Minister Ashok Chavan told the legislative assembly on the last day of its winter session in this second capital of the state.

Former Arunachal Pradesh governor Pradhan was union home secretary in the mid-1980s during the tenure of then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. An IAS officer from the Maharashtra cadre, he played a crucial role during the peace process to resolve the insurgency problems in Assam and Mizoram which culminated in the signing of the peace accords with militant groups in the northeast.

Chavan said the panel will investigate the occurrence of the incident and management of the ensuing crisis by the state administration, including police officers.

The other member of the enquiry committee, which has been asked to submit its report within two months, is retired Indian Police Service officer V. Balachandran, the chief minister said.

The head of the committee has been given the cabinet rank and the other member holds the rank of minister of state. The probe panel has been empowered to summon any bureaucrat or police officer in the state administration.

The decision to appoint the high-level probe, promised by the chief minister earlier, is expected to take care of the persistent opposition demand to fix responsibility for the lapses of the officers concerned in the state administration, particularly top police officers.

The then chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and his deputy R.R. Patil had to quit owning moral responsibility for the failure to save innocent lives.

Opposition leaders have been demanding action against bureaucrats and top police officers, including state director general of police Anomy Roy and Mumbai police chief Hasan Gafoor.

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