M'rashtra ACB seeks to file FIR over import of body armours

The Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) probing the alleged purchase of sub-standard bomb disposal suits after 26/11 Mumbai attacks has sought permission from the state home department to allow registration of a case against the import of the body armour and deputy inspector general of police.

The anti–graft investigating agency was asked to look into the matter when questions were raised about the standard of the protective gear purportedly purchased by the importer Bimal Agarwal Techno Trade Impex India Pvt Ltd in Bombay High Court through a petition.

Agarwal, despite the government’s initial plan to purchase 74 suits of body armour, bagged the tender to provide 82 suits. He had assured the government that he would be importing it from the subsidiary of a well-known American manufacturing firm, Kejo Ltd, reportedly a reputable company in the field.

However, the petition moved in the court alleged that 36 of the suits were imported from a Chinese company which had no relation to Kejo Ltd. The court, thereafter, asked the ACB to look into the irregularities.

In its probe, investigators found that the importer had allegedly shown a dubious bank guarantee and had the tacit backing of a senior Home Department official and the then Assistant Inspector General of Police (now promoted to DIG) Shrikant Tarwade, who ACB alleges has not been able to provide any plausible evidence in defence.

In its report submitted to the Home Ministry, the agency has requested it be allowed to file a case of cheating and forgery against Agarwal and the police officer concerned whom they have not named.

Apart from seeking sanctions for filing an FIR, the report states that prior to the purchase of 82 suits, the state government and Mumbai police had bought 46 bomb disposal suits via same importing firm who had projected that Beijing Analog was a subsidiary of Kejo Ltd.

The 26/11 terrorist attacks had revealed chinks in the earlier suits of body armour and thus fresh tenders were put up for a new batch of protective gear. However, it was alleged that the importer after ordering 46 suits from Kejo, ordered another 36 from the China–based company.

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