Over the stir concerning the misappropriation of funds by Kerala Police and missing arms and ammunition as highlighted by CAG report, Leader of Opposition in the Kerala Assembly, Ramesh Chennithala, on Monday demanded a CBI probe into the issue.
"We demand a CBI probe into the misuse of funds meant for modernisation of police force unveiled by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG)," Chennithala told reporters.
"DGP Lokanath Behra is a senior IPS officer. A crime branch probe by a junior officer will not yield any results. There is corruption to the tune of Rs 350 crore. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is trying to protect the DGP," the senior Congress leader alleged.
"A CBI probe should cover the 9 points raised by the opposition in the Assembly regarding corruption in the Home Department in the purchase of equipment," he said.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday rejected the Opposition demand for a CBI probe into the recent findings of the CAG that rifles and live cartridges were missing from the Special Armed Police Battalion (SAPB). Rejecting the demand of the Congress-led opposition UDF, he told the state Assembly that an "effective" and "comprehensive" Crime Branch enquiry is currently underway and therefore there was no need for an investigation by any other agency.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in its performance audit of 2013-18, tabled in the Kerala Assembly on Wednesday pointed out lapses in handling arms and cartridges and misappropriation of funds. The CAG report found that 25 riffles and 12,061 cartridges were missing from the Special Armed Police Battalion (SAPB). The report also revealed that 250 dummy cartridges were used in the coverup of the shortage of 9 mm drill cartridges. The audit also observed that the Stock Register and related records of arms and ammunition in the SAPB were not properly maintained.
The report had pointed out on DGP Behra's fondness for unreasonable spending on vehicles instead of using the funds meant for improving the operational effectiveness of the force. The report also added that 15 percent of the 269 light motor vehicles procured by the police department were luxury cars. Also, the bullet-proof vehicles meant for operations in Naxal-infested areas were deployed for VIP security. Moreover, the cars were purchased without inviting tenders. The report cited diversion of funds to the tune of Rs 2.81 crore to construct villas for the state police chief and three additional DGPs which were actually meant for construction of subordinate staff quarters.
(With ANI inputs)