Rage for bulletproof vehicle continues in UP | india | Hindustan Times
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Rage for bulletproof vehicle continues in UP

In Uttar Pradesh the bullet proof vehicle and jackets are no longer the preserve of the politicians or cops. Crave among Mafiosi for the armored vehicle has led to spurt in its demand and fly by night operators are busy minting money on the latest craze.

india Updated: Apr 22, 2010 15:08 IST
Rajesh Kumar Singh

In Uttar Pradesh the bullet proof vehicle and jackets are no longer the preserve of the politicians or cops. Crave among Mafiosi for the armored vehicle has led to spurt in its demand and fly by night operators are busy minting money on the latest craze.

That bulletproof vehicles market is burgeoning could be understood from the fact that there is demand of 100 bulletproof vehicles per annum. The owner of a NOIDA based bulletproof vehicle-manufacturing unit said though the demand of the vehicles had increased yet we are able to supply merely 20 to 25 vehicles.

Not only the criminals like Munna Bajrangi and Tribhuwan Singh, but the mafiosi turned politicians including Atiq Ahmed, Rizwan Zaheer, Dhananjay Singh, Akhilesh Singh, DP Yadav, Braj Bhusan Sharan Singh, Abhay Singh, Brijesh Singh, Mukhtar Ansari, Madan Bhaiyya, Ramakant Yadav, Umakant Yadav and Vijay Mishra move with fleet of bullet proof vehicles.

After the killing of BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai in Ghazipur, the demand for the bulletproof vehicles have increased. Though the bullet proofing of a vehicles cost around Rs 20 to Rs 50 lakh but high rate has hardly dampened the spirit of the buyers.

The fight between the criminal gangs to control the mutli crore-extortion racket, coal, business, government contracts, real estate business often turns bloody. According to an estimate, over 70 persons have lost their life in the rivalry among the mafia gangs over grabbing of contract.

"In terms of stake the investment in getting a bullet proof vehicle or jacket is meager," a Gorakhpur based contractor told HT.

"To get best quality of the bulletproof vehicles and jackets we prefer the manufacturers based in Punjab, Mumbai and Haryana," he said.

Along with ambassador car the SUVs including Tata Safari, Mahindra Scorpia, Mitsubshi Pajero, Toyota Innova and Ford Fortuner are being preferred for making a impenetrable armored vehicle.

Abdul who runs a vehicle workshop in Lalbagh said not only the body of the vehicles is fitted with steel plates but also the floor is made of fibre re- enforced panel and bullet resistant glasses are fixed on window.

"Tubeless tyres are fixed in the wheel of vehicle for providing run flat system. The weight of the bulletproof vehicle increases by 300 kg to 700 kg and the suspension is modified to bear extra weight. Extra care is taken of fuel tank and it is fitted with explosive safety material to check explosion in case of attack," he said.

"Bulletproof steel on the vehicle protects it from attack from sophisticated weapon including 9mm pistol, AK 47, SLR and also from the Improvised Explosive Device (IED)," Abdul said.

To curb the activities of the Mafiosi, the state government has directed the District Magistrates and superintendent of police not to give permission for the purchase or assembling of the bulletproof vehicles by an individual.

The ADG (Law and Order), Brij Lal said, "at present there is now law to ban the use of bulletproof vehicles and vests by an individual. The Central Government is framing rules to regulate the sale and use of bulletproof vehicle and jackets. It has sought suggestion from the state government," he said.

"Since there is no rule the central government has advised the state to regulate the use of such vehicles. In view of the central government directive the state police department has directed the superintendent of police not to give permission to an individual for the purchase or assembling of the bulletproof vehicles," Lal said.

The police department move to regulate the use of the bulletproof vehicles came after the crackdown on Mafiosi turned politician Mukhtar Ansari and his brother Afzal Ansari. During the raid the police seized a bulletproof vehicle from a criminal Deepak Singh. The vehicle was purchased from Ropar (Punjab) based company Messers Fariz Fabricators.

In 2004 the UP Special Task Force (STF) had seized a bulletproof scorpio from the members of Munna Bajrangi gang at Satna in Madhya Pradesh then too the state police department had decided to regulate the manufacturing and sale of vehicles, but in vain.

The president of All India Bulletproof Vehicle Manufacturer association Balwinder Singh Shekho said the use of bulletproof vehicle or jacket is the fundamental right of a citizen.

"If government plans to bring a law then it should take the association into confidence," he said.