Kerala

Only 3,636 rounds missing: CB

CM tells Assembly 12,061 cartridges found missing during Jan. 1990-Oct. 2018

The Crime Branch on Monday appeared to give a leg-up to the government to help it fend off the Opposition demand for an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the case of missing ammunition flagged by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG).

Additional Director General of Police, Crime Branch, Tomin J. Thachankary invited mediapersons to an armed police facility here and claimed that only 3,636 live rounds were missing and not 12,061 bullets as reported by the CAG.

Stock-taking

He showed reporters thousands of rounds of ammunition and hundreds of expended cartridges stockpiled in batches and invited sceptics to take a count. He said efforts were on to trace the missing ammunition.

He rebuffed the CAG’s finding that 1,415 INSAS 5.56 mm bullets were misplaced and said the police had accounted for every single round.

Exaggerated figure

The CAG’s conclusion that 1,576 AK-47 rounds were missing was grossly exaggerated and a CB verification had revealed a loss of only nine bullets.

Earlier, he had claimed that the police had accounted for the 25 assault rifles deemed missing by the CAG.

The Cabinet is scheduled to frame a set of rules to govern the process of police procurement and utilisation of government funds.

CM’s reply in House

Replying to K.M. Shaji's question in the Assembly, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said there is no need at present for the case to be handed over to the CBI. Required action will be taken based on the Crime Branch investigation report.

The Public Accounts Committee of the Assembly is looking into the CAG's findings.

However, he said 12,061 cartridges were found missing in the period from January 1990 to October 2018.

The previous United Democratic Front government had formed a three-member board in 2015 to look into the missing cartridges.

The board had concluded that hardly any cartridges had gone missing and tried to play down the discrepancy as 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, Mr. Vijayan said.

Inspection

He said that it was in 2016 that the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government carried out one more inspection and 11 police personnel were arraigned as accused in a case regarding the missing cartridges.

Meanwhile, BJP State president K. Surendran said the Chief Minister, perhaps, had something to be afraid of to refuse an inquiry by the CBI in the case.

He said the CAG’s findings had indicated certain extremist elements in the police force.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 6:27:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/only-3636-rounds-missing-cb/article30966207.ece

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