Our men assembled within minutes we were tasked to perform operations in Mumbai following the request from the state govt," Dutt told IANS in an interview, recounting the 60-hour anti-terrorist operation that held the world transfixed exactly a month ago.
"We are a federal agency and I am placing it on record that our men moved within the prescribed time. One has to understand that before going for such large operations you equip yourself with extra weapons and equipment. It takes some additional time in loading and unloading equipment and weapons in the trucks," said the head of elite commando group.
"First the trucks were loaded at Manesar (in Haryana) and unloaded at Delhi airport. Again trucks were loaded at Mumbai airport," Dutt said.
"I was also rushing to the airport when I received the call if I would accompany the home minister to Mumbai. I drove to his office where he was already waiting for me. When we reached the airport, a plane was already waiting to take us to Mumbai. "We drove in the same car and discussed the situation in Mumbai. I would call it unfair if someone says Patil caused the delay, when actually there was no delay. Patil accompanied us in the same aircraft."
Why NSG troopers were taken by public bus instead of faster vehicles, Dutt replied: "When we reached Mumbai airport many vehicles were lined up outside. No one wants casualties if a speeding vehicle carrying commandos overturns at a time when the presence is highly required at terrorist-held sites. Our men quickly boarded the buses arranged by the local authorities and we reached there in minimum possible time."
Dutt said when they reached Mumbai the terrorists had already taken positions and bodies were lying everywhere in the corridors of the hotels. "The terrorists had fired indiscriminately for one hour.
"It was the first time we had faced a situation where militants had held hostages in their custody. We had to take every step cautiously. Instructions were very clear that no innocent person should be killed in the operations. "I am proud of men and especially salute the two NSG men who lost their lives during the operations. I also express my condolences to the grieving families of the NSG men and innocent people who died in the attack."
Dutt also rubbished reports that the Maharashtra police and intelligence agencies did not provide them enough briefing when they reached the spot.
OneIndia News (With inputs from Agencies)