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Rs 6 cr paid but no sign of bomb suits

On June 29, 2009, the Maharashtra police paid a private firm Rs 6 crore for 82 bomb suits for the use of bomb detection squads.

mumbai Updated: Jun 29, 2010 02:42 IST
Shailendra Mohan

On June 29, 2009, the Maharashtra police paid a private firm Rs 6 crore for 82 bomb suits for the use of bomb detection squads.

A year later, the police are still waiting for these bomb suits. The state government had placed an order for these bomb suits with Techno Trade Impex India Private Limited early in 2009, months after the November 26 terror attacks. The consignment, however, was not delivered even a year later.

Techno Trade moved the Bombay High Court in March 2010 saying that the police had refused to accept delivery of the bomb suits and sought that they should accept the consignment.

Principal Secretary (Home), P.K. Jain, responded to the petition with an affidavit filed on June 10 and revealed that the Home department paid Rs 6.21 crore to but did not receive a single bomb suit. "The payment was made against bank guarantees and with an assurance and promise of the petitioner [the company] to supply the bomb suits," the affidavit reads. Sources said the guarantees lapsed in January 2010.

"The petitioner is raising a false bogey of having the consignment ready and losing interest on investment, the police department not taking delivery of the consignment, etc," Jain's affidavit says. "Whereas, its consignment was not ready even up to May 18." Techno Trade's Director Bimal Agarwal confirmed to Hindustan Times that the payment was made on June 29, 2009, a day before the due date for the delivery of the bomb suits. He refused to comment further saying that the matter is in court.

Jain’s affidavit states that the supplier was avoiding delivering all the bomb suits at a single location to avoid inspection.

The November 26, 2008, terror attacks exposed how ill equipped the city police were to handle terror strikes involving sophisticated arms and ammunition. The state, as a part of its police modernisation plan, decided to fortify the force with better arms, equipment and protective gear such as better quality bomb suits and bulletproof jackets.

Hindustan Times had earlier reported about alleged irregularities in the tender process for purchase of bomb suits. The Home department has already sought an inquiry against three officers from the office of Director General of Police in this matter.

Jain's affidavit includes his letter dated February 2, 2009 to the then additional director general (planning and coordination). Additional Director General of Police (Administration) A.L. Verma, who is currently holding additional charge of the planning and coordination department, said he was not aware of the matter. "The officer who was in charge at that time has retired and the post is lying vacant. I am only officiating for the time being and I do not have any information on this," Verma said.

Then additional director general (planning and coordination) Subhash Awte refused to comment saying he has retired. "The matter is in court now and I am not aware of the status," he said.