“Where are the rifles and cartridges?”CAG asks Kerala state home ministry and DGP: CAG report finds 25 rifles and more than 12000 live cartridges missing; accuses police chief of diverting funds
The report of the Comptroller and Audit General said as many as 25 rifles and 12601 live cartridges have been missing in the Bell of Arms of Special Armed Police Battalion, Thiruvananthapuram. It said the live cartridges have been replaced with dummy cartridges.
The audit report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India on General and Social Sector of the year ended March 31, 2018, tabled in the assembly on Wednesday, also contains serious findings against the state Home Ministry and the police chief.
As per the report, 200 cartridges are found missing from Thrissur Police Academy. So far, no action has been taken against the culprits. The CAG said the missing of rifles and cartridges is a matter of state security.
“Consequent to the audit finding, a separate verification was conducted by Deputy Inspector General of Police (Armed Police Battalion). Audit was informed that the 25 missing rifles were issued to Armed Reserve (AR) Camp, Thiruvananthapuram. Besides discrepancies noticed in the Verification report of DIG (APB), further audit scrutiny of records at the AR camp revealed that there was no entry regarding the receipt of these 25 rifles,” says the report.
“Hence it’s unable to obtain assurance that all arms with the Kerala police have been properly accounted for and there is no loss of arms. Regarding shortage of 12,061 live cartridges, it was informed that a preliminary enquiry has been ordered to be conducted by the Crime Branch,” the report further says.
There are serious findings against the state police chief and CPM’s blue-eyed boy Lokanath Behera in the CAG report. The report says there are irregularities in the purchase of cars for the police. The report has questioned Behera's lavish expenditure on vehicles. The State Police Chief has violated guidelines for buying vehicles for VIP/VVIP. An amount of Rs 2.81 crore earmarked for the construction of police quarters was diverted for some other purpose. The amount was spent for the construction of villas for SPs and ADGPs. The bullet-resistant vehicles, mean for operations in Naxal-infested areas, were deployed for VIP security.
"The police department procured two Bullet Resistant vehicles to ensure security of VIP, VVIPs and Z+ category visitors to the state at a total cost of Rs 1.10 crore without inviting tenders as required under the Stores Purchase Manual,” the report says.
“The police department also violated Stores Purchase Manual and Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) guidelines in the procurement of equipment. In at least four instances, there was clear nexus between officers of the department, vendors and Kerala State Electronics Development Corporation (Keltron) in fixing prices resulting in pecuniary loss to the scheme,” S Sunil Raj, AG (General and Social Sector Audit) said in a press meet.