Ashok Chaturvedi, R&AW Chief, offered to resign for failing to prevent the multiple terror strike that led to the deaths of 166 people and 293 people injured on November 27, 2008, a day after the heinous 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai.
A chain of events can be tied together by talking to those involved in the response to a terrorist attack carried out by the Pakistani terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), probably with the cooperation of its spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
According to reports, Chaturvedi was shown all intelligence alerts sent by the R&AW to the multi-agency centre of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) for dissemination to the Mumbai Police. During that period, joint secretary Anil Dhasmana (international liaison) provided IB with specific alerts that were compiled with the assistance of US agencies, such as the Central Intelligence Agency, and Israel's Mossad.
Names of potential targets, including Nariman House, were listed in the R&AW alerts. On November 20, 2008, an alert was issued to Indian Navy and Coast Guard involved in the Defence of Gujarat exercises near the Kathiawar peninsula about a ship Al Husseini that began its journey from Karachi's KT Bandar.
Even though the latitude and longitude of the ship at anchor were provided. It wasn’t tracked and the terrorists then used hijacked fishing trawler MV Kuber to reach the outer perimeter of Mumbai harbour.
In 2011, Chaturvedi died, however, there are reports that Manmohan Singh, after reviewing R&AW's alerts, which are still in the agency's archives, asked the agency's former chief not to resign. Following the attacks on 26/11, Chaturvedi retired from the agency in the wake of being targeted for not preventing them. His Madhya Pradesh IPS colleague Anil Dhasmana became the R&AW chief in 2017 and he is currently chairman of the National Technical Research Organization (NTRO).
The report of RD Pradhan Commission of Inquiry, set up by then state government headed by Congress chief minister Ashok Chavan, shows that IB used these alerts to issue three warnings of impending terror attacks, including attacks on Jewish targets in India's commercial capital.
Both the state home department and the Mumbai Police failed to perceive threats in the Pradhan report, which specifically mentions an alert from the IB on August 9, 2008, referring to attacks on the Taj Mahal Hotel, Oberoi Hotel and the World Trade Centre.
The Mumbai Police, as per the Pradhan Committee, took the IB warnings very seriously, however, over the following months the level of readiness dropped, leading to the surprise attack on 26/11. The interrogation of LeT's 26/11 Mumbai scout David Coleman Headley aka Daood Gilani revealed that the terror attacks have been planned for some time (something that would explain the advance warnings).
According to Headley, the first attempt on Mumbai in September failed because the boat sank at sea. On 26/11, the second attack was successful and deadly with the union home ministry, the Mumbai police department and the state home department caught unawares.
As a result of the incident, both Shivraj Patil and RR Patil lost their jobs, along with Mumbai Police commissioner Hasan Ghafoor, while PC Haldar, director of India's Intelligence Bureau, retired on his due date of retirement on December 31, 2008.
Image source: India today