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State, firm fight over cop gear

mumbai Updated: Aug 30, 2010 01:36 IST
Urvi Mahajani
Urvi Mahajani
Hindustan Times
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After the 26/11 attacks, the state decided to equip the police so they are better prepared for attacks by investing in state-of-the-art bomb suits, a robot and a total containment vehicle for bomb disposal.

Nearly two years after the attacks, the police have yet to get their hands on any of this, as the state and the firm meant to supply the equipment battle it out in court, as reported in HT’s February 8-10 editions.

The case is likely to come up for hearing today.

In two affidavits filed, Prem Kishan Jain, former principal secretary (home), has alleged that Techno Trade Impex India Pvt Ltd (TTIIPL), which got the order, has procured inferior-quality products, charged higher rates and won the bid by forming a cartel.

Jain, who is MD of the Maharashtra State Security Corporation Ltd, filed the affidavits on the order Bombay High Court, which asked the state to do so while hearing petitions filed by TTIIPL.

In March 2009, seven firms participated in the bid and TTIIPL won. A year later, in March, TTIIPL filed petitions asking the court to direct the police to accept the consignment of 82 bomb suits, the robot and TCV, and pay dues of Rs 14 crore.

In another affidavit filed recently, Jain has alleged that TTIIPL acquired 36 bomb suits from a firm in South Africa and the remaining from China. Jain alleges that TTIIPL imported suits from SA despite knowing that “most companies based in South Africa do not have clean credentials and the quality of their product is doubtful”.

The suits imported from China are cheaper as compared to those from SA. “So their quality will be lower than the ‘doubtful suits’ imported from South Africa,” the affidavit alleges.

Bimal Agrawal, director of TTIPL, points out to HT that Jain cannot know the quality of the suits without testing them. The affidavit alleges that TTIIPL is not co-operating when it comes to inspection.

In the affidavit, Jain has also said that TTIIPL and two other firms formed a cartel to win the bid and that an inquiry had revealed that all three firms had the same specifications that pointed to the sample bomb suit that TTIIPL had with it. Agrawal said the three firms are authorised by the same manufacturer to sell its bomb suits. “When it’s the same manufacturer, what is the need for three suits?” he said in his affidavit.

Agrawal alleges that Jain is trying to sabotage the deal to benefit a supplier he favours. “Jain is conducting business in the name of his son…” his affidavit states.

With regard to the TCV, Jain said TTIIPL charged Rs 6.24 crore for an old model when the Mumbai airport had purchased a more advanced model for Rs 3 crore. “The cost of a product may keep varying,” Agrawal said.