Kerala

Police reviewing arms, ammunition stock

DIG, Armed Police Battalion, heading the survey

The State police are conducting a full-scale audit of arms and ammunition in their possession.

Officials said DIG, Armed Police Battalion, was heading the survey.

It had reportedly commenced when the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) asked the police to account for the “shortage” of 24 INSAS 5.56 mm assault rifles and 12,061 rounds in an audit query.

The survey would cover firearms stored in police facilities across Kerala, sidearms of officers, SWAT units, commandos and police personnel assigned on VIP guard duty. The police hope to complete the process by year-end.

CAG’s conclusion

The CAG’s conclusion that police armoury was short of 25 rifles and rounds had stung the police. It had prompted the Opposition to demand a National Investigation Agency (NIA) enquiry citing security implications.

The police had responded, somewhat belatedly, by stating the weapons were in safe custody in Thrissur camp.

The CAG reportedly did not factor in the police response because officers could not allegedly produce the physical evidence before the auditors.

The police had dispersed the weapons from the arms depot at the SAP camp here in 2011. Officials said poor record-keeping had prompted the CAG to conclude the police had mislaid the rifles and bullets.

SPC meets Governor

Meanwhile, State Police Chief Loknath Behera and Special Advisor Raman Sreevastava met Governor Arif Muhammed Khan at the Raj Bhavan on Thursday.

They reportedly said the police had used Modernisation of Police Forces (MoPF) funds to purchase a bulletproof vehicle for VIPs with Z plus category security as per the Centre’s guidelines.

The police had gone for the cheapest option in the market. Officers often had to rely on bulletproof vehicles borrowed from neighbouring States or those flown in from New Delhi for VIP security.

The police had procured vehicles for officers using modernisation funds with the explicit sanction of the State government, and there was no illegal diversion of resources as alleged widely.

The CAG had found that 15% of the 269 vehicles procured by the police were luxury cars for officers and not for operational units. It stated the purchases had violated MoPF guidelines.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 12:32:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/police-reviewing-arms-ammunition-stock/article30823155.ece

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