CAG flags missing rifles, cartridges from Kerala Police battalion HQ
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has flagged 25 missing INSAS rifles and 12,061 live cartridges following a joint verification held in the Special Armed Police Battalion (SAPB) in Thiruvananthapuram and has come down on Kerala’s Director General of Police Loknath Behera for purchasing bullet proof vehicles for VVIP security, violating guidelines.
The report on General and Social sector for the year ending March 31, 2018, which was tabled in the Kerala Assembly on Wednesday said 25 INSAS rifles and 12,061 cartridges were missing from the armoury of the SAP battalion in Thiruvananthapuram. It also said police department was aware of the shortage and tried to cover it up.
The CAG has also recommended an immediate probe to trace the missing rifles and bullets. The report also pointed out a cover-up by replacing the missing bullets with dummy ones.
“The police department failed to act and trace the missing ammunition and fix responsibility on the officials who committed the serious offence. There were also attempts to cover it up by replacing them with dummy bullets,” report said.
Officers in charge of arms and ammunitions are supposed to check their armoury stock at least once in a week and make entries in registers, but the CAG found that these registers were not maintained properly. The loss of arms and ammunitions is a serious issue with implications on security of the country, the report said.
The report also said DGP Behera diverted ₹2.81 crore meant to construct staff quarters of his sub-ordinates and used this amount to build villas for him and additional DGPs. Despite objections raised by the finance department he went ahead with his plan. It also questioned his penchant for spending lavishly on vehicles instead of using these funds for improving operational capability of the force. The bullet-resistant vehicles meant for operation in Naxal-infested areas were deployed for VIP security, it said.
State Accountant General Sunil Raj late told the media that glaring omissions were found in the state police department. “Our role is to find out the faults and place them before authorities. The public accounts committee will look into them,” he said
When contacted the DGP’s office said it will give a reply to the concerned authority as per the procedure and rules. The public accounts committee is the competent authority to take a decision on these allegations, it said.
The Congress-led opposition has termed the findings of the CAG serious and sought a probe by a central agency.
Earlier when some of these charges were raised in the assembly, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had stoutly defended the DGP.