Night vision binoculars, bullet-proof vests: A peek into Maharashtra police’s new gear

The force has also acquired around 1,500 bullet-proof helmets

mumbai Updated: Nov 23, 2017 00:31 IST
Debasish Panigrahi
Debasish Panigrahi
Hindustan Times
Maharashtra police,Night vision binoculars,bullet-proof vests
The acquisition of the bullet-poof jackets, tenders for which were floated soon after the 26/11 strike, had been delayed owing to a scam in the bomb-suit tendering process.(HT File)

Nine years after November 26, 2008, terrorist attacks that exposed the lack of preparedness of the police force, the state police now claims to be better prepared to face a similar challenge, thanks to a slew of newly acquired body armour and gadgets.

Top sources in the state police told HT that the most important among those is the acquisition of around 4,600 state-of-the-art bullet-proof jackets for its special forces that had been formed in the aftermath of the attack. The Mumbai police had lost three of its best officers — anti-terrorism squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare, additional commissioner of police Ashok Kamte and senior police inspector Vijay Salaskar— who died after bullets from the terrorists’ assault rifles pierced through their sub-standard bullet proof vests designed to withstand the fire of only small arms.

Sources said the new bullet-proof jackets were manufactured by MKU (M Kumar Udyog), a reputable manufacturer of military-grade protection and surveillance equipments based in Kanpur. “The jackets were thoroughly tested before they were deemed fit for acquisition,” a top state police official said. He added that they were at par with the vests used by top-notch special forces around the world. While a bulk of the vests were given to Force 1 and the quick response team (QRT) commandos, the rest will be used by the C-60 Cobra battalion engaged in anti-Naxal operations.

The acquisition of the bullet-poof jackets, tenders for which were floated soon after the 26/11 strike, had been delayed owing to a scam in the bomb-suit tendering process. Bowing to criticism, the government had made an ad hoc arrangement and got around 2,000 jackets from the Central Reserve Police Force in 2011. The order for the current lot was placed in November last year.

The force has also acquired around 1,500 bullet-proof helmets to be used by the special forces, commandos deployed as part of anti-Naxal operations and other commandos sent on combat assignments.

The urban warfare preparedness of the police, sources said, would also get a boost with the acquisition of local wireless systems with repeaters. These are meant to ensure seamless communication in places where the official wireless signal has a poor reach. “Communicating over the official wireless system becomes difficult in an underground situation, say the basement of a building, as signals become feeble. The new portable wireless device with repeater ensures a local loop with powerful signals that guarantees uninterrupted communication,” sources added.

Sources said that to do away with allegations of malpractice in the acquisition process, the state police signed a MOU with the State Trading Corporation (STC) of India, which undertook the tendering process.

Meanwhile, Right To Information activist Anil Galgali, who had exposed the harried disposal of ATS chief Hemant Karkare’s bullet-proof jacket at the JJ Hospital in the aftermath of the attack with a suspected motive to cover up the substandard quality of the body armour, welcomed the new procurements. “Since the protective armour and other devices have been acquired after proper quality control, they should be worthwhile. This will certainly give the force the required confidence to take on any challenge,” he said.

First Published: Nov 23, 2017 00:30 IST