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Intelligence network of Mumbai Police has collapsed: Former spymaster
George Iype in Mumbai |
August 27, 2003 22:25 IST
A former Mumbai top cop says it is easy to organise bomb blasts in the city as the 'basic intelligence collection' of the police has collapsed.
V Balachandran, who headed Special Branch (I) of the Mumbai Police, which is the political and security intelligence wing, told rediff.com: "The morale of the Mumbai Police is very low and the intelligence gathering system of the police is nil these days."
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"It is very easy to bomb Mumbai. Anyone can put bombs in the city and get away. There is no basic police intelligence system under the Mumbai Police these days. The Mumbai Police have lost their ability and credibility to gather effective and credible intelligence," he stressed.
After a four-year stint in the Special Branch, Balachandran served in the Research and Analysis Wing in New Delhi, the United States and France for 19 years. Balachandran retired as special secretary, Cabinet Secretariat.
"In those days, IPS officers like me wanted to work in the Special Branch. But these days, no policeman -- from senior IPS officers to constables -- want to work in the Special Branch," he said.
"The Mumbai Police only knows how to combat crime. It is easy to do that because to combat crime there is no need for any intelligence gathering. You get the details from the rival gangs. In crime, there is lots of money involved. So the police personnel are tempted to combat crime rather than gather basic intelligence," the former spymaster said.
According to Balachandran, when he headed the police intelligence department in Mumbai Police, he used to brief the then Chief Minister V P Naik everyday.
"In fact Naik himself insisted on being briefed by me every morning about security and intelligence matters of the city. The chief minister attached so much importance to this daily briefing that it was not the city police commissioner, but the senior intelligence officials who were in constant touch with him," Balachandran said.
He said in those days, even though there were no incidents of terrorism and bomb blasts, he used to give the chief minister a daily projection of what would happen in the city.
"We had a credible intelligence network under me then. But sadly nothing of that sort exists these days in the Mumbai Police," Balachandran said.
The former police officer said the Special Branch had a team called the 'watchers branch'.
"They were people who nobody knew who they were. They mixed with people across the city, with vendors, shopkeepers, taxi drivers etc. They would then give a report every day to the senior police officers as to what is happening to the city," Balachandran said.
But unfortunately, he said, the Mumbai Police disbanded the 'watchers branch' in the 1980s for no particular reason.
"If we do not restore the special branch intelligence network in the Mumbai Police, bomb blasts and similar security problems will continue to haunt the city," he said.
Balachandran said that some years back the then Maharashtra deputy chief minister Gopinath Munde had called him and sought his opinion on beefing up the security and intelligence network of the police.
"I told Munde that you need to reinvigorate the special branch intelligence department and give it the pride of place to save Mumbai. I gave my advise; but I have no idea what Munde did with my advise," he said.