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Congress asks for probe on Kerala CM's role in police department bungling

Congress asks for probe on Kerala CM's role in police department bungling

Published:19 February 2020

Stepping up pressure over the CAG report findings of mismanagement in the police department, the Congress, on Wednesday, demanded probe into Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's role into it.

Thiruvananthapuram | Stepping up pressure over the CAG report findings of mismanagement in the police department, the Congress, here on Wednesday, demanded probe into Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's role into it.

The CAG report for 2013-18, tabled in the Kerala Assembly on Wednesday, pointed to missing guns and cartridges, misuse and diversion of funds, alleged collusion between state-owned Keltron and the police in purchases, and named state police chief Loknath Behra.

Speaking to the media after visiting the luxury villas being built for top police officials, leader of opposition in the Kerala Assembly Ramesh Chennithala and state Congress chief Muallapally Ramachandran demanded probe into Vijayan's role in various discrepancies pointed out by the CAG.

"One important citation in the CAG report is the way Behra diverted funds meant for building quarters for junior police officers towards construction of luxury villas for top officers. These violations can't happen without the Chief Minister's knowledge. Hence, his role should also be probed," said Chennithala.

Earlier in the day, in a report to Vijayan, Home Secretary Vishwas Mehta said the CAG findings regarding missing guns, diversion and misuse of funds were baseless. "There has been no proper maintenance of records, and hence these issues. Nothing is missing," it said.

Senior Congress legislator P.T. Thomas, first leader to point out rampant corruption in the police department, said the probe by Mehta was an insult to the CAG and action should be taken against him.

"Everything is clear. The CAG follows strict protocols. Before the CAG report is printed, there is a procedure called 'exit meeting' when the CAG officials sit down with the department officials where the audit is done. At this meeting, the department heads can give explanations. And this official is now contradicting the CAG.

"An NIA probe should be launched into the missing guns and cartridges and a CBI probe into other findings about the police department," said Thomas.

The state BJP, also up in arms against the Vijayan government, demanded a probe by a national agency into the CAG findings. New state BJP chief K. Surendran said in Thrissur as Vijayan had realised that there was no chances of him returning to power he was indulging in large-scale corruption. It was just the tip of the iceberg, he added.

Meanwhile, in a relief for Vijayan, a petition seeking CBI probe into the CAG report was dismissed by the Kerala High Court on Wednesday as it was centred around media reports.


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