How credible is the state government’s action to be taken report (ATR) on the findings of the Ram Pradhan Committee on the 26/11 Mumbai attacks?
An annexure to the ATR mentions the number of 5.56 mm INSAS automatic rifles procured by the police in 2007-2008 as 4,85,111.
If this is to be believed — the ATR is one of the most important government documents to have come out since 26/11 — then the 1.63-lakh-strong state police force has the luxury of at least three INSAS rifles for every policeman.
It gets even more inexplicable. According to the chart, these 4,85,111 rifles were procured at Rs 33.93 lakh. This amounts to Rs 6.99 a rifle.
When Hindustan Times contacted senior police officials to find out exactly where this abundant cache of rifles was deployed, the mystery deepened.
“We have only 1,430 INSAS rifles,” said Director-General of Police (DGP) S.S. Virk.
What about the remaining 4,83,681 rifles?
Virk said there seemed to be an error in the ATR. Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Chandra Iyengar, who was on leave on Thursday, said she would comment only after seeing the annexure.
The ATR said the data was provided by the DGP’s office.
“I will check if there was an error at our end [in providing the data],” said Virk. He said he had not yet gone through the ATR.
A deputy secretary in the Home Department said: “The statement shows units ordered and money paid. Often, the supply is staggered and money is paid only for the quantity received.”
The chart lists ammunition procured for these rifles separately and shows that the last batch, or 2,82,200 rounds, was procured in 2006-2007.
The ATR, which was tabled in the state legislature instead of the actual Pradhan Committee report, created a furore as merely a few observations of the committee and the government’s response was made public.
Inputs from Debasish Panigrahi and HT Political Bureau