In a move to help the city police, builders of Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane city have offered Rs 1.5 crore donation for procurement of bullet-proof jackets for the force.

Although the payment was directly made to the State government-listed bullet-proof jacket manufacturing company, the idea, accepted by Mumbai Police Chief D. Sivanandhan, has evoked sharp reactions from former IPS officers.

30 builders affiliated with Maharashtra Chambers of Housing Industry (MCHI), a body representing top developers in the Mumbai region, had six months ago met Mr. Sivanandhan and mooted this idea after the Commissioner asked them to do something for the force.

After a couple of days, a delegation of builders had visited the Commissioner’s office and had issued 30 cheques, each one of Rs. 5 lakh, to the manufacturer in his presence.

“We wanted to do something for the police force. Then we thought of providing bullet-proof jackets to the force. We gave cheques to the manufacturer, listed by the State government, ordering 30 bullet-proof jackets at the commissioner’s office,” said a builder from MCHI, who did not wish to be named.

“It’s a noble cause and a small social gesture from builders. As a common man, I wanted to help the force. The move should be taken in a positive way,” the builder said.

However, former city police commissioner Julio Ribeiro disagreed with the idea. “I know the money was directly not given to the police force. The cheques were issued to the manufacturer. But, I would have never accepted the idea. Builders are obviously going to expect something in return,” he said.

“Mr. Sivanandan is a good officer but sometimes he can also commit mistakes,” Mr. Ribeiro said. Mr. Sivanandan was not immediately available for comment.

Lawyer and former IPS officer Y. P. Singh described it as a gross violation of government rules and police manual. .

“Police cannot accept any donations from private people or builders without the permission of the State government,” he said.

“Accepting gift from builders, who often seek official favours from policemen, is far more improper,” he added.