Case of Exploding Bribes
Contractor who supplied inferior bomb suits is arrested. What about the six police officers he allegedly bribed?
On August 13, the Economic Offences Wing of the Mumbai Police arrested the Director of Techno Trade Impex, Bimal Agarwal, for supplying inferior quality bomb suits to the Maharashtra Police. Experts believe that his arrest will end up nailing six police officers who allegedly took bribes from him while awarding the contract. The officers were attached to the office of the director general of police at that time. Home Minister R. R. Patil had announced last year that a departmental inquiry had been initiated against the accused officers, whose names have been withheld. The inquiry is still pending.
After the 26/ 11 terrorist attack opened chinks in the police’s armour, Maharashtra Police decided to buy bomb suits and Total Containment Vehicles ( TCV). Agarwal had won four major contracts worth Rs 25 crore in 2009. It included a contract for 82 bomb suits for Rs 6.25 crore, TCVS for Rs 6.25 crore, robots for bomb disposal for Rs 2.5 crore and multi- functional belts for Rs 10 crore. He supplied the material in 2010, but the government rejected it for not conforming to quality standards. Agarwal had acquired 36 superior quality bomb suits from South Africa. The remainder, of inferior quality, were bought from China. A case of cheating was filed against him in May this year. Agarwal had filed an application for anticipatory bail, claiming that he was implicated in the case at the behest of senior IPS officer P. K. Jain. However, the court rejected the application.
Agarwal, in a sting operation in 2010 by TV news network HEADLINES TODAY, admitted on camera that he had bribed six police officers to get the contract. “When did I tell you that I did not bribe anyone? I did. The share was divided. Once I bagged the contract and was paid money by the government, I paid cuts to the officers concerned out of the money,” he had said. The scam came to light when it was noticed that Mumbai Airport had purchased the same TCV at Rs 2.5 crore. A BJP MLA from Nagpur, Devendra Phadnavis, had found the bomb suits lying in a government warehouse in Malad, Mumbai. “Agarwal’s arrest is not enough. The case cannot be fully cracked till all the accused police officers are arrested. The government should make names of all the accused police officers public,” says Phadnavis.
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