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Controversy over use of Mumbai Police SUVs bought under Nirbhaya Fund for Y-plus security to CM Shinde's MLAs

"At least 30 Boleros are yet to be returned, which has impacted the police patrolling in the jurisdiction of respective police stations," a police official said.

Controversy over use of Mumbai Police SUVs bought under Nirbhaya Fund for Y-plus security to CM Shinde's MLAs
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First Published Dec 11, 2022, 6:57 PM IST

The Opposition is up in arms in Maharashtra after reports emerged that some of the vehicles procured under the Nirbhaya Fund to fight crime against women by the Mumbai Police earlier this year are currently being used for providing Y-plus security to the MLAs and MPs of Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde's Shiv Sena faction.

The city police used the Rs 30 crore corpus that it received under the Nibhaya Fund to buy 220 Boleros, 35 Ertigas, 313 Pulsar motorcycles and 200 Activa two-wheelers. To note, the Centre has been providing the Nirbhaya to the state governments since 2013 to roll out schemes for women's safety. 

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A police officer, who sought to remain anonymous, told news agency Press Trust of India that the newly-procured vehicles were procured were distributed to all 97 police stations, coastal, cyber and traffic police units in July.

'Of these vehicles, the Motor Transport Department of the Mumbai Police requisitioned 47 Boleros from several police stations following an order from the VIP Security section of the state police. The order said that the vehicles were required for escort vehicle duty for Shinde faction MPs and MLAs to provide Y-Plus security cover to them,' the officer said. 

Out of the vehicles requisitioned for lawmakers' security, 17 were returned to police stations after the requirement was fulfilled, he said.

However, '30 Boleros are yet to be returned, which has impacted the police patrolling in the jurisdiction of respective police stations', the official added.

Opposition Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party attacked the Shinde-led government and sought to know if the ruling legislators' security was more important than protecting women. Both parties criticised the Shinde-led government. 

Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant sought to know whether the security of ruling MLAs was more important than protecting women from abuse. He further termed the use of the Nirbhaya Fund, which is meant for the 'Nirbhayas of Maharashtra' being used for the security of MLAs, as appalling and outrageous. 

NCP spokesperson Clyde Crasto said that the SUVs bought with Nirbhaya Fund being diverted for providing Y-plus security to Shinde legislators was a shameful misuse of power by the Shinde-Fadnavis government. 'Shinde's legislators must hang their heads in shame,' he said.

"On one hand, the chief minister claims he has the people's support and on the other hand, every breakaway MLA and MP is being provided Y-plus category security which comprises 5 police personnel. If people are with you, what do you fear," NCP's Maharashtra unit President Jayant Patil asked.

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