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No protective gear for bomb squads

mumbai Updated: Feb 09, 2010 01:23 IST
Shailendra Mohan
Shailendra Mohan
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

As the dust settled after the 26/11 attacks, the Maharashtra Police decided to set up units of the Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad (BDDS) across the state, and buy protective bomb disposal suits for BDDS personnel.

The process of acquisition of these suits has been troubled from the word go.

Documents available with Hindustan Times say the Maharashtra Police first called for tenders for the purchase of the suits in January 2009.

This was followed by technical demonstrations that included a working trial carried out by all the groups involved.

The State Intelligence Department (SID), which supervises these demonstrations, submitted a report to the purchase department of the Director General’s office.

When the bids were opened, Techno Trade Impex India was found to have the lowest

rate and was awarded the contract.

Soon after, however, a senior police officer, alleging irregularities by the supplier, wrote to the office of the Director General of Police, asking that the order be cancelled.

A letter from the SID office, dated February 5, 2009, said Bimal Agarwal, director of Techno Trade, and one Jignesh Dharia had formed a consortium to bag such orders.

The letter named five ‘companies’ the duo allegedly used, and sought that Agarwal be blacklisted from supplying anything to the state.

Agarwal wrote back to the Mumbai police commissioner’s office clarifying his position, and denying any knowledge of any of the companies named in the SID letter.

On March 28, 2009, the Home Department issued a Government Regulation (GR) recommending to the DG office, the purchase of 82 suits from Techno Trade Impex. On March 30, the company was given six orders for these.

Agarwal said he wrote to the office of the Additional Inspector General (Provisions) on August 25, 2009, asking for the location where he was to deliver the suits, but got no response.

Only after his third letter, dated November 17, was he asked to deliver the entire consignment to the office of the Principal, Special Protection Unit, SRPF Group 1 at Pune.

Documents available with HT show that when Agarwal took the consignment to this address, Deputy Commissioner of Police Sanjay Jadhav refused to take delivery, saying he needed intimation for this from the office of the SID commissioner.

Home Department sources said Agarwal was required to supply 82 suits by June 30, 2009. His firm reportedly failed to do this, only offering to
supply 14 suits in November 2009, and seeking more time to supply the rest.

According to the deal, non-fulfilment of deadline could lead to cancellation of the order,” the officer said.
Subhas Awate, additional director general of police, said: “We wanted the entire stock
so the technical committee could hold random checks,
but the supplies never came,” he said.

Agarwal denied this, saying he had been ready to deliver the entire lot within the stipulated date since the time he got the certificates needed to import the suits.

Agarwal said the suits are now in his warehouse. “I can supply them right away if asked to.”