The state government has purchased a high-end bulletproof Mercedes E -Guard car exclusively to ferry the President, the Prime Minister and heads of state during their visit to Bangalore.
The car has been imported from Germany at a cost of Rs 1.5 crore. However, the government had to pay Rs 64 lakh with the Centre deciding to waive of customs duty. On Monday, the car was used to ferry President Pranab Mukherjee from the HAL airport to Raj Bhavan.
The car is custom built with protective features such as a special steel body that can withstand bullets and bomb attacks. The vehicle is also able to withstand handgun bullets of up to .44 Magnum in calibre at random angles of fire.
The five-seater car also comes with ultra luxury spacious interiors. Other features include underbody armour that makes the entire underfloor area of the passenger cell resistant to hand-grenade attack.
A long wait
The state protocol wing has been for several years seeking a bulletproof car to ferry VVIPs. Though several proposal to buy a top-end bulletproof cars by the protocol wing were made during the last few years, they did not materialise. At present, bulletproof cars of the Police department are used for the travel of VVIPs.
The Centre decided to extend custom waiver only after the state government submitted in writing that the car would be used only to ferry the President, the Prime Minister and visiting heads of state. The Centre has laid down strict condition that the car should be used only for specified purpose. It cannot be used even by the chief minister.
The car was shipped from Germany to Mumbai and was brought to Bangalore in a tanker.
The car was used for the first time when Vice President Hamid Ansari visited Bangalore recently.The car is maintained at a garage on Kumara Krupa guest house premises.