Maharashtra to purchase bullet-proof equipment for police

Mumbai, May 18 (Calcutta Tube) Eighteen months after the 26/11 terror attacks, the Maharashtra government has initiated the process for procuring new bullet-proof jackets and helmets for police officers, an official said here Tuesday.

The government is not taking any chances this time and is planning to get the best products available in the market.

Last week, the state police invited applications from producers for the supply of bullet-proof jackets and helmets detailing the most stringent quality specifications.

Director-General of Police A.N. Roy will have meetings with producers of bullet-proof jackets and helmets on Wednesday where he will view presentations.

In a communication, Deputy Inspector-General of Police (Provisions) Dilip Shrirao also invited the prospective suppliers to take part in a meeting with the DGP and carry with them two samples each of the required products (NIJ Level III & Level IV).

At this meeting, the manufacturers shall brief the DGP and other top police brass on the products, the technical details, their safety to the wearer and ability to withstand firing from different kinds of guns, among other things.

However, Shiraro has made it clear that the communication was not a tender nor was the meeting with the DGP a tender inquiry.

Post the Mumbai terror attacks, the Congress government had come for flak from the opposition Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party for what it alleged was the procurement of sub-standard bullet-proof jackets and helmets in the past.

They pointed out that during the 26/11 terror attacks, the then Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare sustained gun shot wounds and died despite wearing a bullet-proof jacket and a helmet.

This blew up into a political issue, and subsequently led to a detailed probe into the procurement process.

The probe revealed that the sensitive files pertaining to the purchases were missing.

Later, it was also found that the bullet-proof jacket worn by Karkare had mistakenly been disposed of by a sweeper.

The matter has figured in the state legislature on several occasions prompting the Maharashtra government and the police to tread the issue this time with extra caution.

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