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Bureaucrat in the net for bulletproof jacket scam

Apr 29, 2010 11:45 PM IST India India

New Delhi: In yet another blow to the Ministry of Home Affairs, the CBI has arrested a Home Ministry bureaucrat for bending rules in the contract for procurement of bulletproof jackets for the Indian paramilitary forces.

Home Ministry Director RS Sharma was arrested along with a private contractor RK Gupta and his wife Loveena Gupta. Sharma is alleged to have taken a bribe from the Guptas as a favour in awarding the contract.

Sharma has been sent to 2 days police custody on charges of corruption.

CBI spokesperson Harsh Bahl said, “It was alleged that an officer of MHA had developed nexus with certain private firms supplying security equipments such as armoured panel, bulletproof jackets, helmets, shields and was granting undue favour to such firms.”

Sharma's co-accused R.K Gupta, a bulletproof jacket manufacturer, made some allegations in court accusing the Home Ministry of framing him to save corrupt officers

"I was the whistleblower in the bullet proof jacket procurement scam...I wrote a 17-page letter to the Home Minister, wrote at least 5 letters to every one from the home minister to the head of CRPF, exposing how officers in charge of procurement were passing substandard tenders in lieu of money and playing with the lives of our soldiers. I am being targeted for exposing the corrupt," said Gupta.

CNN-IBN had exposed in January this year how trials and procurement of bullet proof jackets were being tampered by government officers, a story that Gupta also quoted in his defence.

What started out as a bribery allegation against an officer of MHA is now threatening to become a corruption scandal at the top level of the Government.

If Gupta's allegations is proved true then CBI's work is cut out to stem the rot in the bulletproof jacket procurement scam.