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Why robot isn’t here

Among the Mumbai Police’s priority shopping list for equipment after the 26/11 terror attack was a robot that helps detect and defuse explosives, reports Shailendra Mohan.

mumbai Updated: Feb 10, 2010 01:29 IST
Shailendra Mohan

Among the Mumbai Police’s priority shopping list for equipment after the 26/11 terror attack was a robot that helps detect and defuse explosives.

The Maharashtra government sanctioned Rs 2.14 crore for the purchase of one such robot.

On January 15, 2009, bids were invited. Technical evaluations were conducted under the supervision of then additional commissioner of police Vinay Korgaonkar.

A report submitted to the purchase department of the police commissioner’s office, said Techno Trade Impex India had “qualified in all aspects” for the supply of the robot.

After getting approval from the police purchasing committee on February 17, 2009, the joint commissioner of police (Administration) forwarded a proposal to the Home department to get the financial and administrative clearances needed to place an order for the robot.

The next day, Techno Trade Impex was issued a provisional order, and almost a month later, after all the clearances had come through, the Home department issued a Government Regulation (GR) recommending to the police commissioner’s office the purchase of one robot.

The GR cleared a budget of Rs 2.14 crore for the purchase. On March 31, the company was given a formal supply order.

On June 26, the supplier wrote to the office of the DCP (HQ I), requesting the issuance of the certificates needed for the import of the robot — and is still to get them.

Bimal Agarwal, director of Techno Trade Impex alleges that the purchasing officer – in this case the deputy commissioner of police (HQ I) – has all the certificates needed for the import of the robot but has not sent them to Techno Trade despite repeated requests.

DCP (HQ I) Vijay Singh Jadhav, told Hindustan Times he could not comment on the matter and was not aware of the current status of the order. Joint Commissioner of Police (Administration) Bhagwant More also denied any knowledge of the matter and refused to comment.

Home Ministry sources said an enquiry has been instituted, to be conducted by the additional secretary (Home).