Hasan Gafoor,who was Mumbai Police Commissioner during the 26/11 terror attack,died following a cardiac arrest on Monday. He was rushed to Breach Candy Hospital after he complained of chest pain,but passed away before he could be treated. He was 61 and is survived by wife and daughter.
Gafoor had a chequered career spanning 36 years marked with controversies. The Pradhan Committee,which probed the police response to the Lashkar-e-Toibas assault on the city,had criticised Gafoor for what it said was his poor leadership during the attack. Gafoor had further attracted controversy when he said senior police officers had not responded effectively during the 26/11 crisis. In an interview,he had named a few officers,drawing flak from the police establishment and the state government.
Officers said Gafoors remarks after 26/11 had caused an uproar in the force,with some officers not taking too well to his comments. There were voices of dissent after those comments. While no one would speak their mind out about the problem,there were some who did not take well to the comments, said an officer.
However,senior IPS officers point out that the credit for the weapons and equipment upgrade undertaken by the Mumbai Police post-26/11 should largely be given to the 1974 batch IPS officer.
Gafoor was unparalleled in terms of weapons prowess. His shooting skills were remarkable and spoken of highly in the police fraternity. Junior officers were impressed when they saw him fire a weapon. It was often said that he would never miss a target,no matter what weapon he fired, said a senior IPS officer.
An engineering graduate,Gafoors knowledge of weapons and his familiarity with them was evident at a display of the Mumbai Polices firing abilities at the Goregaon SRPF ground post 26/11. Guests invited to the display left the event talking about Gafoors accuracy with modern assault rifles.
He headed a small group of IPS officers who were assigned the task of researching and drawing up a list of modern weapons such as MP-5 rifles,vehicles,armour and other equipment that were acquired by the Mumbai Police to bolster its anti-terror capabilities.
When weapons were being examined,he would speak his mind out about their pros and cons. He was very dedicated to his work and refused to take it easy. He was an officer who knew what the police fraternity stood for and how people look up to us. He never let the post come in his way and humility was one of his qualities, said an officer from the Mumbai Police.
Just recently,the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had begun a probe into alleged pay-offs concerning a $100 million Air India contract. The alleged scam had taken place when Praful Patel was the Union Civil Aviation Minister. Gafoors name had cropped up in the controversy. Patel had written to the PM saying that the allegations were baseless and Manmohan Singh had subsequently cleared him in this connection.
The media-shy Gafoor chose to retire away from the spotlight. In an unusual deviation from tradition,he neither got a customary farewell dinner nor parade,choosing to end his career the way he preferred to work away from the glare.
An officer said that while Gafoor is no more,the legacy he left behind in terms of helping choose weapons would help the police secure the city,and remember him for his service.