Mumbai, Nov 24: Maharashtra's Anti-Terrorism Squad ATS is grappling with a severe manpower crunch with 283 posts of the total 732 lying vacant, two-and-a-half years after a panel set up to probe state police's response to the Mumbai attacks recommended streamlining the force.
Of the sanctioned strength of 732 personnel for the ATS, which was formed in 2004 to counter terrorism and probe terror cases, 283 posts or 38.66 per cent of the required manpower are lying vacant as on September 1, 2011, ATS sources told PTI.
Although Maharashtra has borne the brunt of terrorism with six deadly attacks since 1993, including the 26/11 strikes, the state's terror watchdog has only 10 sub inspectors, the cutting edge of the force as they are first to investigate a case as against the sanctioned strength of 90.
The cumulative strength of constables in ATS stands at 354 as against approved 495. The constables are eyes and ears on the ground to gather intelligence inputs, the sources said.
The strength of middle-level officers is no better.
There are only two superintendents of police for the four sanctioned posts, three assistant commissioners of police for the 10 required and 38 Inspectors instead of required strength of 50, the sources added.
In the aftermath of the brutal terror attack on November 26, 2008, the Ram Pradhan Committee in its report submitted in April 2009 had noted that the structure of ATS and its operations was in "somewhat confused state".
On November 26, 2008, Ajmal Amir Kasab and nine aides had landed here by sea and gone on a shooting spree at various places, including the Taj Mahal Hotel, Nariman House, Oberoi Hotel and CST railway station, killing 166 people.