Given the flak it has taken for the role of allegedly substandard body armour in the deaths of senior police officers in the 26/11 terror attacks, the state police administration is being doubly careful in its fresh purchase of bulletproof jackets and helmets.
Even before floating tenders for these, the police are asking manufacturers for an open demonstration.
Director General of Police (DGP) A.N. Roy has asked the makers of bulletproof jackets and helmets for a demo on May 19 and, if required, the next day, at the Maharashtra state police headquarters at Colaba.
An invitation to the manufacturers has been posted on the websites of the Maharashtra government and the Maharashtra Police.
The invitation, dated May 14, has been signed by Dillip Srirao, deputy inspector general of police (Provisions).
The communication reads: “Maharashtra Police is in the process of procuring bulletproof jackets (NIJ Level III & Level IV), bulletproof helmets and bulletproof patkas.
The producers of bulletproof jackets, bulletproof helmets and bulletproof patkas have been requested to participate in the meeting along with two samples of their products. During the meeting, they are required to brief the police brass in detail about their products, its technical features and other details.”
It has, however, made it clear that the DGP’s office has not yet floated a tender and that the meeting of May 19/20 was not a tender opening meet.
All this is in the wake of the controversy over bulletproof jackets in the state police’s armory following the 26/11 terror strike — it became a political issue and a probe was ordered into the procurement — in the course of events, the file (on the purchase of the bulletproof jackets) went missing.
It was discovered that the bulletproof jacket worn by Anti-Terrorism Squad chief Hemant Karkare during the 26/11 crisis had mistakenly been disposed of.
The police administration later clarified that the bulletproof jackets bought in 2002 could stop bullets fired from a 9-mm pistol but not an AK-47 rifle.