More than two years after the German Bakery blast,as Pune Polices Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad continues to work with only one bomb disposal suit,Home Minister RR Patil said on Monday,Maharashtra currently has sufficient bomb suits for the minimum requirement of the state police.
Patil was speaking at a gathering of Pune Union of Working Journalists.
In the past,the Indian Express had reported on how tenders were repeatedly floated by the state government for procuring bomb suits after the 26/11 terror attacks,and how they were either scrapped or caught in controversy. Even after the German Bakery blast,more tenders were floated,but no suits were procured.
In January 2009,a tender was floated for 80 suits and state police awarded a contract to a Mumbai-based company and placed an order for 82 suits.
As we had ordered for the suits from United States and since they were delivered from China,the order was cancelled. We have recovered money paid to the supplier by not making payments for some other orders placed and a hence a case was registered against him. I can assure that we will not accept any substandard protective suit. Patil said on Monday contradicting his own statement made in July that state was ready to accept the suits from the same supplier.
After investigation into the goof up,the anti-corruption bureau (ACB) had submitted its report to the home ministry. The supplier was booked in a case that was registered following the investigation.
Maharashtra currently has sufficient bomb suits for the minimum requirement of the state police. The tenders were to add to the capacity, the minister said.
An officer with Pune BDDS said,We are working with just one bomb suit and one can come and see the condition. Only Mumbai have been given enough number of bomb suits. Rest of the police units across Maharashtra are ill equipped when it comes to protective suits. What does one mean by minimum requirement of bomb disposal squad. Pune has once been made a target. Are we waiting for another attack to see we have enough suits for our minimum requirement?
After the tender in January 2009,another tender for 77 suits was placed in August same year but no order was placed.
In December 2009,a tender for nine suits and after the German Bakery blast on February 13,2010,another tender for 11 suits were floated in September 2010. In none of these cases orders were placed.