The report flagged the purchase of two bullet-proof vehicles using the money sanctioned for the modernisation of the state police force. The report also alleges a nexus between the police officials and the car vendor.
A report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) highlighting alleged diversion of funds meant for modernisation of the police force in Kerala has triggered a political storm in the state. The Congress-led opposition has demanded the removal of DGP Loknath Behera and also demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the purchase of VVIP bulletproof vehicles by the state police.
The CAG report tabled in the state assembly has allegedly found loopholes in the purchase of VVIP bullet-proof vehicles by the police department. The report also found lapses on the part of the police in the case of missing police rifles and live cartridges. Around 25 INSAS police rifles along with 12,061 live cartridges have been reported missing from the special armed police battalion unit. The finding has led to protests by the opposition who have now demanded that the National Investigation Agency probe the matter.
“Such an incident has not taken place anywhere in the country, police corruption has come out in the open and CM Vijayan refused to respond to the charges in the state assembly,” Matrubhumi quoted Leader of Opposition in the state assembly Ramesh Chennithala as saying. The report further added that Chennithala has also sent a letter to the Chief Minister demanding the DGP’s sacking and a high-level probe.
"I haven't received the letter yet," Kerala CM on opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala's letter demanding DGP Behera's removal & probe by CBI & NIA into findings of CAG report that 25 rifles &12061 live cartridges missing from Special Armed Police Battalion in Kerala Police. pic.twitter.com/0NaUqCZvAP
— ANI (@ANI) February 13, 2020
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, on the other hand, has said that he has not received any letter from the leader of opposition Ramesh Chennithala, ANI reported. The controversy has rocked the CPM-led Left Democratic Front government led by Pinarayi Vijayan.
The audit scrutiny at armed reserve camp showed no entry for the 25 INSAS rifles and police crime branch has been ordered to investigate the missing arms, State Accountant General S Sunil Raj was reported as saying by India Today.
The Congress-led opposition is also planning to meet the governor to demand the intervention of the Union Home ministry into the sensitive case of loss of rifles and cartridges.
The report flagged the purchase of two bullet-proof vehicles using the money sanctioned for the modernisation of the state police force. The report also alleges a nexus between the police officials and the car vendor as no public tender was issued for the purchase in violation of the state purchase manual, according to Mathrubhumi. The report points out that the decision of the police department to not issue a tender may have led to financial loss to the state exchequer.
The report further suggested that the Police Modernisation Funds should have been judiciously used to buy deployment vehicles for the Naxal-affected areas of the state rather than getting spent on buying luxurious VVIP security cars.
The Congress-led Opposition has decided to up the ante against the Pinarayi Vijayan government in the Public Accounts Committee which is headed by Congress MLA VD Satheesan. Officials alleged to be involved in the misappropriation of funds including DGP Behera might be summoned by the PAC to explain their side of the story.
The ruling Left Democratic Front is led by Communist Party of India (Marxist) along with its allies Communist Party of India, Nationalist Congress Party NCP and Janata Dal (secular) JDS. On the other hand, the Congress-led United Democratic Front consists of the Congress, the Indian Union Muslim League IUML and other small parties. The LDF had come to power defeating the Congress-led UDF government in 2016.