One bomb suit ‘sufficient’

Shocker from Pune Police Commissioner Pol

Officials of the Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad (BDDS) have been for long desperately pleading for additional bomb suits, but Pune Police Commissioner Gulabrao Pol feels one bomb suit — which is worn out — is sufficient for Pune police.

Pol's statement, which stunned BDDS officials as seen from their response, came during an interaction with journalists organised by the Pune Union of Working Journalists on Sunday morning, where the police chief discussed the preparedness of the police for the ensuring Ganesh festival, especially in the backdrop of the low intensity blasts on Jangli Maharaj Road on August 1.

The Indian Express had reported that when BDDS personnel had defused bombs and detonators on J M Road on August 1, only one of them was wearing the protective suit, which as per the police staff was torn and 12 years old. At other spots where the Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) were to be simultaneously defused, cops were found wearing bullet-proof jackets and two-wheeler helmets, instead of bomb suits.

In June, staffers from the Pune units of the BDDS had communicated to the higher authorities that functioning with a worn out suit would not be possible and it was putting their lives at risk. But they had no alternative but use the same suit on August 1, and for all other subsequent calls about suspected bombs.

The process of acquiring bomb disposal suits by the state government is, meanwhile, stuck due to alleged corruption, subsequent litigation and an inquiry by the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB).

On Sunday, as Pol discussed how the Pune police and BDDS officers' had imparting training to college students to handle any disaster or terror strikes, a question about the bomb suits was asked, and Pol said, "I think one suit is sufficient for us."

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