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Force One, state-of-art guns to guard Mumbai

Mumbai, Dec. 17: The Maharashtra government today announced that an elite commando force — called Force One — would be set up on the lines of the National Security Guard to shield Mumbai against terrorist strikes.

Three weeks after the attacks that killed 172 people, state home minister Jayant Patil told the Assembly the commandos would be armed with 250 MP5 guns to ensure there was no repeat of the terror that struck Mumbai on November 26.

MP5 guns are state-of-the-art sub-machine guns that can fire 700-900 rounds a minute with a maximum range of 150 metres. The quick response team of commandos now deployed in Mumbai use AK-47s and Glock pistols.

Replying to a debate on the terror attack, Patil said a special court would be set up and Mumbai police would file the first chargesheet within 60 days.

Advocate Ujjwal Nikam is likely to be appointed special public prosecutor in the case. Nikam had handled the 1993 blasts case and the Khairlanji Dalit killings case in Vidarbha.

Patil said a state security council, on the lines of the National Security Council, would be formed under the leadership of chief minister Ashok Chavan to deal with security issues.

He said the government would buy helicopters to provide faster transport to police teams during emergencies and 36 speedboats to improve coastal security.

Mumbai police teams would be sent to Chicago and other cities to study security systems put in place by prominent forces in the world, he said. He assured the House a comprehensive security audit would be done at all sensitive locations to plug holes in security.

Denying Maharashtra had received any specific alert on the November 26 strikes, Patil said the state had got a general advisory on September 20 about possible attacks on the Taj and Oberoi, following which the hotels were asked to step up security.

The Shiv Sena and the BJP raised a ruckus after Patil’s statement, saying he had not dwelt on their demand to sack DGP Anami Roy, Mumbai police commissioner Hasan Gafoor and additional chief secretary (home) Chitkala Zutshi for “failing” to prevent the attacks.

Chief minister Chavan replied that the state had ordered a high-level probe but refused to act against the top cops till they were found guilty.

This led to the Opposition staging a walkout and adjournment of the House. Sena leader Ramdas Kadam later said: “We will not allow the House to function… till the three officials are removed.”

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