Tuesday, December 25, 2007

AP : OCTOPUS(elite anti-terrorist outfit) moving at snail’s pace

OCTOPUS (Organisation for Counter Terrorist Operations)

The outfit does not have full-fledged premises and the required staff

HYDERABAD: The elite anti-terrorist outfit, OCTUPUS, which was conceived following the twin bomb blasts at Gokul Chat and Lumbini Park here, is yet to take off and appears to be moving at a snail’s place.

Four months after Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy mooted the idea of constituting OCTOPUS (Organisation for Counter Terrorist Operations), the outfit does not have full-fledged premises of its own and is far from inducting the required police personnel, who need to be trained, leave alone the ministerial staff. The building currently housing Greyhounds near the Chief Minister’s residence at Greenlands has been allotted to OCTOPUS but the anti-naxal outfit is yet to vacate the premises.

Senior IPS officer A. K. Mohanty, who was posted as Director-General of OCTOPUS, is reportedly at his wit’s end in expediting the pace of constituting the organisation.

He took charge on October 31 but the Home Department issued an order sanctioning the required posts and outlining the organisational structure only on December 7. According to sources, more than 1,500 executive staff and 200 personnel have been sanctioned of whom 600 are expected to assume charge before March end.

Three wings

Tasked with carrying out intelligence and field operations to counter terrorist activities, OCTOPUS will have three IG/DIG rank officers to head an equal number of wings -- intelligence and analysis; operations; and administration, logistics and training. It will also have eight SPs, seven Additional SPs, 22 DSPs and 86 inspectors but so far only one DIG and six assistant commandants have been posted.

It is learnt that the emphasis of the organisation would be to combat urban terrorism with focus on ‘ISI-sponsored/abetted/ instigated activities’. The operations wing would have surveillance cells, expert teams and an independent assault and rescue unit.

One of the units would be declared as a police station under CrPC to carry out searches, checks, preliminary enquiries, arrests and register cases. When contacted about the organisation’s progress, Mr. Mohanty said, “It is in the process. No sooner than the manpower and logistics are positioned, the field activities will commence.”

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