26/11 Mumbai terror strike: Three years on, sacked politicians back in corridors of power


Taj Hotel in Attack
MUMBAI: Three years on, while victims of the worst-ever terrorist strike on Indian soil still await benefits of a rehabilitation package to reach them, the heads that had rolled in the wake of the 26/11 attack are back in the corridors of power - with full honours.

A week after the attack that left 166 innocent persons dead, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi was quick to sack then Union home minister Shivraj Patil. Subsequently, NCP boss and Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar dismissed Maharashtra deputy chief minister R R Patil, who also held the home portfolio. Following Pawar's bold political move, Sonia was forced to ask chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh to step down.

A year later, Shivraj Patil was appointed governor of Punjab while Deshmukh was inducted into the Union cabinet as minister for rural development. Now Deshmukh is minister for earth science.

Even more surprising is the fact that Pawar not only reinducted R R Patil into the cabinet, but entrusted him with the the home portfolio again.

A former chief secretary pointed out that even in the case of high-ranking bureaucrats and police officials, no action was taken despite adverse observations made by the Ram Pradhan Committee. For example, the panel had passed strictures against then Mumbai police commissioner Hasan Gafoor for his failure to provide leadership in the hour of crisis, but no action was taken against him.

In fact, the home department rejected the committee's observations and promoted Gafoor to the director-general rank. Subsequently, Gafoor retired as DG (anti-corruption), without any blot.

Same is the case with home department babus found guilty of dereliction of duty. "Most of these babus have retired and have been given plum assignments after retirement,'' the former chief secretary remarked.

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