Zaveri Bazaar, one of the sites of the July 13 triple blasts here, has 32 CCTV cameras privately installed by shops and establishments, Maharashtra Home Minister R.R. Patil told the Assembly on Tuesday.
The excessive focus on installing CCTVs after the blasts led to agents of certain companies claiming that their products were superior, he said.
The Minister, who came under Opposition fire in both Houses for being a “failure” in curbing repeated terror strikes in Mumbai, said CCTVs would be installed in the city within the next few days. The government had plans to install 5,000 cameras in a phased manner.
He, along with a delegation of experts, would visit Scotland Yard to study the video surveillance systems in London.
The government planned to recruit 13,000 police personnel from September. Thane, Navi Mumbai, Nashik, Pune, Aurangabad and Nagpur would see increased manpower and upgrading of technical infrastructure.
Seeking to counter the blame on investigating agencies, Mr. Patil said the State agencies had arrested the accused in the blast cases in Ahmedabad, Surat, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Jaipur, Lucknow, Varanasi and Delhi. “The police are doing good work. They err sometimes, but they have not left any case undetected.”
Mr. Patil denied the charge that recommendations made by the Ram Pradhan Committee, set up after 26/11, had not been implemented. The government had acted on the report except for “one or two miscellaneous things.”
“The action taken report was tabled in the House. All the measures have been taken. We are ready to table an updated ATR.”
With a view to strengthening the intelligence gathering machinery post-26/11, the government started an academy in Pune at a cost of Rs. 16 crore. The first batch of officials was ready and a new batch of 55 officers would be trained there.
A high-power committee under the Chief Secretary had been formed to expedite procurement of bullet-proof jackets and bomb suits for the police force.
Responding to the charge that sub-standard jackets were purchased, Mr. Patil said nine IPS officers were involved in procurement of jackets worth Rs. 24 lakh in 2001-2002.
Two of them — Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad chief Hemant Karkare and Additional Commissioner of Police Ashok Kamte — were killed in the 26/11 attacks.
“These jackets are not foolproof. Karkare was shot in the neck from a distance of eight to nine feet. There are no bullet marks on the jacket. There are different jackets for pistols and AK-47s and they are tested from a distance of 40 feet. If the jackets were faulty, would the officers have worn them?”
Mr. Patil said the purpose of terror attacks was to create communal disharmony, especially in a cosmopolitan city like Mumbai, which was also the financial capital.
Leader of the Opposition Eknath Khadse demanded an ATR on Mr. Patil’s assurances as all promises made in the past had not been made good. Hindu