Mumbai, Jul 14: The Mumbai Mirror has come out with a story of how the Anti-Terror Squad led by Rakesh Maria was busy competing with the Crime Branch for headlines, and had kept a closed eye towards terror activities.
Till Tuesday,strictly behind closed doors,State Anti-Terror Squad top brass and its Crime Branch counterparts focused on sidelining the other,while taking credit for the breakthroughs and cases solved.
ATS chief Rakesh Maria's press conference on Tuesday, in which two alleged Indian Mujahideen men were paraded before the media for their role in the 2008 Ahmedabad blasts, had the Crime Branch men seething.
The Crime Branch claimed the ATS stole their informer, and nabbed the duo, who allegedly supplied cars to carry out the Ahmedabad blasts.
Just 24 hours later, the ATS and the Crime Branch bosses are running for cover,as Mumbais vulnerability against terror has again been exposed.
All this while, the Crime Branch men alleged that the ATS was playing a game of oneupmanship rather than focusing on anti-terror operations.
Wednesdays blasts have put a serious question mark over the fiveyear-old ATS ability to counter terror.
Indeed,if one looks at the ATS performance post 2010 German Bakery blast that left 11 dead,the agency has very little to show.
The ATS has been in the news for netting fake currency peddlers,underworld elements,and illegal firearm dealers.
After the German Bakery blast probe ,the ATS busted two fake currency rackets,nabbed at least two illegal weapons dealers and a few months ago,nabbed four Chotta Rajan men wanted in the May 17 Pakmodia street firing in which Iqbal Kaskars driver Arif Bael was killed. And,the arrest of two car thieves on Tuesday.
ATS-bashers in the Mumbai Police say, the agency appears to have swapped roles with the Crime Branch.
A senior officer said, they (ATS) have the best of resources and infrastructure. Also, the intelligence inputs are first received by the ATS before being filtered to other police units.The central intelligence agencies too co-ordinate with the ATS now.
Under these circumstances,one expects something spectacular from the ATS. But they are struggling to carry out counter-terror operations.It is worth noting that before 2005, when the ATS was set up, the Crime Branch was fighting terror with the help of its developed network of informers.Now,not many in Maharashtra Police are sure whether ATS has achieved the requisite standing and capability to fight terrorism on its own steam.