There have been ample instances of how the Maharashtra government can stoop to any extent to mask its failures. Last year in October, a power outage in India’s financial capital, Mumbai saw the Uddhav Thackeray government garner a lot of bad press. Now, the Maharashtra government has quoted a New York Times report and claimed that an external hand had a key role in the ‘sabotage’ – something which has been squarely denied by the Indian government.
Maharashtra Home Minister and NCP Anil Deshmukh while commenting on the October 12 power outage said, “Maharashtra Cyber Cell has submitted a preliminary report on this. The report findings state there is evidence that suggests there might have been a cyber-sabotage attempt. The report has been handed over to minister Nitin Raut.”
Maharashtra Power Minister, Nitin Raut, said, “I will table all the reports on the October 12 Mumbai power outage in the Assembly tomorrow.”
Anil Deshmukh stated that no one should politicise the issue of ‘cyberattack’. “Cyber-attack issue is not just confined to Mumbai but it could spread across the country. We should not politicise this issue,” said the Home Minister of Maharashtra. He added, “I have spoken to Union Minister RK Singh about this. He has sought details about it and said that we should remain alert.”
Contrary to the claims of the Maharashtra government, Union Power Minister RK Singh said the October 12 outage was caused was “human error and not due to cyber attack”.
While quoting an investigation report, Singh said, “There is no evidence to prove that the October 2020 electricity blackout in Mumbai was caused by a cyber attack perpetrated by China or Pakistan.”
He added, “Some people say that the group behind the attacks is Chinese but we don’t have evidence. China will definitely deny it.Two teams investigated the power outage. One of the teams submitted that cyber attack did happen but they were not linked to the Mumbai grid failure.”
Debunking Maharashtra government’s claims, Singh noted how there were some cyber attacks on the country’s northern and southern region load dispatch centres but the malware could not reach the operating system.
Recently, a New York Times report stated during the Ladakh stand-off malware was being injected into the control systems that are responsible for electric supply across India.
However, the pandemic exposed the NYT’s soft corner for China and the communist country is desperate for a face saving measure post the disengagement at the Eastern LAC. NYT’s report may well be an effort to showcase a false Chinese bravado and it is unfortunate that the Maharashtra government has fallen for the propaganda in a bid to mask its own failures.