Govt orders fresh trial of bullet-proof vests
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Last Updated: Monday, January 11, 2010, 23:26
  
New Delhi: In the wake of alleged malpractices, the government today scrapped the technical evaluation report of bullet-proof jackets done under a tender floated for procuring 59,000 such vests and recommended action against a DRDO official who was part of the evaluation panel.

Dismissing the earlier tender proceedings, the Home Ministry decided to cancel the test reports of jackets submitted by the Terminal Ballistic Research Laboratory (TBRL) and asked the bidders to submit new samples for examination afresh.

An official spokesman said after floating the tender, Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC) under the chairmanship of Director General of Bureau of Police Research and Development and a Tender Advisory Committee (TAC) under the chairmanship of DG CRPF was constituted.

The TEC included Joint Director R K Verma of TBRL, a laboratory under Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) and the samples submitted by the qualified bidders were tested in the TBRL. The TEC submitted its report on the tests to the TAC.

When the matter was under consideration of the TAC, the Ministry received several complaints from different quarters including a CD purportedly containing conversations between Verma and one of the bidders.

This prompted Home Minister P Chidambaram to order a stay on further proceedings in tender, for the bullet-proof jackets meant for Central para-military forces, pending a thorough enquiry.

After a preliminary consideration of the complaints and the CD, the Home Minister on December 23, 2009 stayed the tender process and directed that the bids shall not be opened until further orders, the spokesman said.

The complaints and the CD have been examined carefully by the Director General Bureau of Police Research and Development and he reported that Verma has admitted that it was his voice on the CD, he said.

The report of the DG, BPR&D has been considered by the TAC and has made its recommendations to the Home Ministry, after which the decisions have been taken.

The Ministry has also decided that the facts of the case may be reported to DRDO to nominate one or more scientists/ technologists of integrity to conduct the tests on the fresh samples and that the DRDO may take suitable disciplinary action against Verma after holding an inquiry.

It has been decided that the TEC and TAC may be advised to maintain strict vigilance and ensure scrupulous adherence to the terms and conditions of the tender.

Bullet-proof jacket manufacturers had petitioned the Union Home Ministry claiming that "transparency and scientific approach" were not adhered to while testing for the life saving armour.

The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has been designated as the nodal force to procure the vests for six central para-military forces. The other five forces include NSG, CISF, ITBP, Assam Rifles and SSB.

An open tender was floated on July 3 last year under a two-bid system for procurement of the jackets.

PTI


First Published: Monday, January 11, 2010, 23:26


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