Two years after Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare was felled by terrorists during the 26/11 attacks, the state government is still in the process of procuring high-quality jackets that could withstand bullets from AK 47 rifles, a top police official said today.
Karkare had been killed despite wearing a bullet-proof jacket, sparking a row over their efficacy.
According to the official, a tender for the purchase of 2000 high-standard vests which cannot not be pierced by bullets from advanced weapons, including AK variety rifles, had been floated recently.
Karkare's wife Kavita, who had raised doubts about the quality of the jacket worn by her husband when he received fatal injuries, had stirred a major controversy when she said information made available to her through an RTI query revealed that the vest had gone missing.
The state's Congress-NCP government had come under opposition attack following Kavita's accusations of sub-standard jacket having resulted in Karkare's death.
As the controversy snowballed, it transpired that the file related to the purchase too had gone missing. An inquiry later found that the jacket worn by Karkare was disposed of by the hospital staff by mistake. It was never found.
While clarifying its position in the Bombay High Court on a PIL filed by an activist Santosh Daundkar over the quality of the jacket Karkare wore on that direful night, the state government said there was nothing wrong with the vest but it was meant only for protection against bullets up to calibre of 9mm fired from pistols.
Karkare, a 1982 batch IPS officer, was killed in an ambush near Cama Hospital, along with another IPS officer Ashok Kamte and encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar.
"The process to procure high-quality vests that can withstand bullets from AK 47 rifles and other advanced weapons is on. We have floated a tender for procurement of 2,000 vests recently," Additional Director General (Planning and Co-ordination) Pankaj Gupta told PTI.
Gupta refused to comment when asked why not a single bullet-proof jacket was procured since the 26/11 attacks.
"Following the controversy over Karkare's death despite wearing a bullet-proof jacket, the Maharashtra police has decided to procure advanced vests. We are co-ordinating with concerned department at the Centre to look for the best jackets available in the market," another top officer said on condition of anonymity explaining the delay.
He said the process could take another six months.
Mumbai Cops Yet to Buy AK 47 Resistant Vests
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