The state-of-the-art machines and gadgets (including arms and ammunitions), worth more than Rs20 crore, that the state and the Mumbai police purchased from across the globe in the aftermath of the 26/11-terror strike have now come under the scanner following concerns over their efficiency and utility.
With the state government increasing its modernisation grant to the Mumbai police, several vehicles — such as speed boats for policing the coast, armoured personnel carriers for counter terrorism operations — and arms and equipment — such as Kalashnikovs, night vision glares and the latest anti-material guns—were purchased in bulk. Experts had pointed out that many of the purchased goods were of military grade and their usage by civilian police was unheard of before.
Mumbai police sources told HT that a performance audit of these purchases is being undertaken by a committee, headed by a deputy commissioner of police.
The reasons for the audit, they said, was that the acquisitions did not meet the standards and the police did not have a facility to test them or trained manpower to handle the equipment. The police have noticed some faults in the armoured personnel carriers such as the Markman. The police purchased 39 Marksman for around Rs40 lakh each.
Sources said the vehicle’s waterproofing system is inadequate. The air-conditioning system is allegedly faulty. There have been complaints about the vehicles breaking down frequently, sources added. “Also, there is only one maintenance facility at Navi Mumbai,” a source said.
From the guns purchased, three Anti-Material Guns — having a range of over 1.5km —cost the police Rs seven lakh each. However, the state does not have a firing range long enough to test these guns. “We do not even have anyone who knows how to operate it,” said a source. The night vision glares, sources said, are lying idle after their expensive batteries drained out with no replacements in the offing.
Mumbai police’s spokesperson, deputy commissioner of police, Rajkumar Vhatkar, confirmed the audit. “All the equipment that was purchased in the last five years is being reviewed. This is part of the overall audit of every department of the force,” he added.