Govt orders fresh trial of bullet-proof vests

The govt has recommended action against a DRDO official who was part of a technical evaluation panel.

Last Updated: Jan 11, 2010, 23:26 PM IST

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

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

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.