The opposition has been questioning his ability to handle the home department. Yet, home minister RR Patil, on Tuesday, sought to take his political rivalry with party colleague Jayant Patil a step ahead when he said that the home department, headed by the latter after the 26/11 terror attacks, purchased weapons and equipment for the police with undue haste.
"They wanted to buy anything and everything because it was the first time that the department got such hefty funds to make purchases," the home minister said.
Patil was responding to BJP legislator Devendra Fadnavis, who had alleged irregularities in purchasing a containment vehicle, boats and other equipment and demanded action against the errant officials.
In his defence, the home minister said, "Currently, a committee headed by the chief secretary is authorised to make purchases for the police."
Jayant Patil replaced RR Patil as home minister when the latter was forced to resign after the November 2008 terror attack. RR Patil returned to home department again when the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party coalition came back to power in 2009. Jayant Patil, however was entrusted with a low-profile rural development portfolio.
Following the July 13 attack, Jayant Patil had said he had approved installation of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras during his tenure, but did not know why the government failed to put the crucial security apparatus in place even after three years.
RR Patil countered this by playing down the importance of CCTVs. "CCTV camera companies vehemently market their products after every blast. They try to make it look like their products would alone stop terror strikes," Patil said.
The Opposition was unrelenting its attack on Patil, questioning his ability to head the crucial home department. BJP legislator Vinod Tawde said. "RR Patil is sitting on a throne which has seen 600 people lose their lives to terror attacks." "It has been 13 days since the serial blasts in Mumbai and the home department is still clueless about the perpetrators. Patil only keeps assuring us that the security is in place," said leader of the opposition in the council, Pandurang Phundkar.