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Rifles, Cartridges found missing in SAPB Battalion: CAG report

Press Trust of India  |  Thiruvananthapuram 

In a shocking revelation, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has found shortage of 5.56 mm INSAS rifles and 12,061 live cartridges in a joint verification held in the Special Armed Police Battalion (SAPB) here.

The report on General and Social sector for the year ending March 31, 2018, was tabled in the Kerala Assembly on Wednesday.

The CAG report also found that anti Maoist operations at Palakkad, Malappuram, Idukki and Wayanad suffered due to dependence of police forces on analog communication equipment.

The state government, it said, had "failed" to make timely payment of spectrum charges and obtain license from the Union government for procuring Digital Mobile Radios.

The audit found that the stock register and related records of arms and ammunition in the SAPB were "not properly maintained".

"The entries in the stock registers had many over writings, use of white correction fluid and striking off of entries etc.

The entries and corrections were not properly authenticated.

Audit could not find any evidence of conduct of periodic physical verification by higher officers from the records available at SAPB", the report said.

A joint verification was conducted on October 16, 2018 to test check, including physical verification, in the battalion to assess whether physical stock of arms and ammunitions matched with the stock registers and whether the system of accounting of arms and ammunitions was "robust and reliable".

The verification conducted in the Bell-of-Arms of SAPB, along with the Assistant Commandant, revealed shortage of 25 numbers of 5.56 mm INSAS rifles and 12,061 live cartridges.

While the police department was aware of the shortage in ammunition, it "attempted to cover up" the shortfall instead of identifying and taking action against the culprits responsible for the loss of ammunition, the report said.

It was also found that the shortage of 250 numbers of 9 mm Drill Cartridges was sought to be covered up by replacing the same with 250 dummy cartridges.

There was no document on record to show how these dummy cartridges came into the possession of the SAPB and how these were taken into stock.

The report recommended that in view of the serious security implications, Government should take urgent steps to trace the missing cartridges and rule out the loss of rifles.

It suggested that similar stock taking of arms and ammunition be undertaken in all battalions and police stations, including Police Chief Stores immediately.

The report also came down on the state police Chief and said the official violated the MPF (Modernisation of Police Force) scheme guidelines, which prohibits procurement of vehicles for VIP/VVIP security utilising the MOPF funds.

The police department procured two bullet resistant vehicles to ensure security of VIPs, VVIPs and Z+ category visitors to Kerala at a total cost of Rs 1.10 crore without inviting tenders as required under the Stores Purchase Manual.

The objective of providing increased mobility to the police forces as envisaged under the MOPF scheme would have been achieved had the police department procured bullet proof/mine proof vehicles for deployment in naxal infested areas rather than acquiring bullet proof cars for VIP security, the report said.

The state police chief diverted Rs 2.81 crore meant for construction of Upper subordinate staff quarters for construction of villas for SPC/ADGPs, it said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, February 12 2020. 16:52 IST