Kerala

Pinarayi Vijayan says missing cartridges case not to be handed over to CBI

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. | File

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. | File   | Photo Credit: S. Mahinsha

The CAG had found that live cartridges had disappeared from the State police armoury

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said that there is no need at present for the case regarding the disappearance of live cartridges from the police armoury, as flagged by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), to be handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

In reply to K.M. Shaji’s question in the Assembly on Monday on whether the case would be handed over to the CBI, he said that a crime branch investigation was going on. Required action would be taken based on the investigation report. The Public Accounts Committee of the Assembly was looking into the CAG’s finding regarding the missing cartridges.

 

He said that as many as 12,061 cartridges were found missing from January 1990 to October 2018. The previous United Democratic Front (UDF) government formed a three-member board in 2015 to look into the issue. The board had concluded that hardly any cartridge had gone missing, and tried to play down the discrepancy was due to the stock-taking method of noting the number on top of each box rather than counting the individual cartridges. The UDF government had thus tried to bury the fact that the bullets had gone missing, said Mr. Vijayan.

He said that it was in 2016 that the Left Democratic Front government carried out one more inspection and 11 police personnel were arraigned as accused in a case. A police official who had served as the Quartermaster Havildar at the SAP battalion from 2013 to 2015 was arrested. Since the investigation was progressing effectively, there was no need for another agency to investigate the case at present.

 

To a question from the Opposition on whether a Minister’s gunman, who was the third accused in the case, would be shifted from the position, the Chief Minister said that action would be decided after the investigation. A comprehensive investigation was being carried out whether similar cases of armoury going missing had happened in the other armed battalions.

On the Opposition’s question as to whether the exhibition of rifles through the media would affect national security, Mr. Vijayan said that it was important to inform the public that not a single rifle had gone missing. A check carried out in the bell of arms had accounted for all of the 660 INSAS rifles and none were missing as pointed out by the CAG. He said the police had counted 647 rifles in the armoury and verified their serial numbers. An India Reserve Battalion unit deployed in Manipur had the remaining 13 guns in its custody.

Mr. Vijayan said that the leaking of the CAG report before it was placed in the Assembly should be viewed seriously.

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 9:33:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/cm-pinarayi-vijayan-says-missing-cartridges-case-not-to-be-handed-over-to-cbi/article30961713.ece

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