The 110 bullet-proof jackets purchased by the state government were not effective against bullets fired from AK-47 rifles or Self-Loading Rifles (SLR).
An affidavit filed by Vijaysingh Jadhav, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Headquarters, in reply to a public interest litigation filed by city resident Santosh Daundkar states that two of the four tests done on these jackets found them ineffective against sophisticated weapons such as the AK47 rifles.
The jackets have been embroiled in a controversy after ATS chief Hemant Karkare, wearing one of these jackets, was gunned down by terrorists in the 26/11 terror attacks. Daundkar’s PIL alleged irregularity in purchase of the bullet-proof jackets and that one of such sub-standard jackets failed to provide protection to the late ATS chief.
The affidavit said Hemant Karkare did not die because he was wearing a sub-standard bullet-proof jacket. “The postmortem report states that the five bullets pierced his shoulder and neck,” reads the affidavit.
The affidavit states that the jackets were expected to provide protection against bullets fired from 9mm pistols and grenade splinters.
“The jackets were good enough only to give protection against the bullets fired from 9mm ball FMJ and fragments from grenades,” adds the affidavit.
The bullet-proof vests were tested four times by a Technical Committee comprising three senior police officials. First of the four tests was conducted at the Ghatkopar firing range while the rest were conducted at SRPF Firing range at Goregaon.
In the first and third tests, the committee found that the jackets “can block bullets fired from AK-47 and SLR rifles with a slight bulge developing on rear side of the plate.”
The second and the fourth tests gave contrary results: “No protection against bullets fired from AK-47 and 7.62 mm SLRs”.
J K Dutt, former director general of the National Security Guards said: “Considering Mumbai has faced terrorists with automatic weapons in the past and threat perception for the city has always been high, authorities should have purchased bulletproof jackets which could withstand projectiles from an automatic weapon such as an AK-47. It was not judicious on the part of Mumbai police to go for bullet-proof jackets which could just handle 9mm pistols.”