Not a single day passed in recent times without Kerala police getting caught in a web of controversy – and all of them caused by their wrong actions. Many of the police actions put even the ruling left front in embarrassment. Most of the charges against the force were raised on issues like human rights violations in the name of Maoist hunting, soft approach towards the sangh parivar, discriminatory attitude towards Muslims and discriminatory justice. Most recently, the police adopted an inimical posture against the popular protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). The chief minister himself, who also handles the home portfolio, has come in for strong blame on this score.
Within the left front itself there have been reproaches that the chief minister who handles the police department, does not have or exercise enough control over the police force. But instead of taking such observations seriously and taking corrective steps, the chief minister, and even the left front, has often tried to find fault with the critics. It is when the police in Kerala has suffered such a loss of face that the Comptroller-Auditor General (CAG) report has been released. The report contains grave faults on the part of the police which is sure to create a major crisis for the police and the government.
The report covers the performance of police during the period 2013-18. What a review of the whole report tells is this: during the period, the finance management of Kerala police was extremely suspicious and mysterious. In other words, the police was making many of Kerala police's prestige projects into finance mismanagement with a smacking of corruption. There are parts of the CAG report which mention the current chief of police DGP Loknath Behara by name, in view of the actions under with his initiative. At the same time there were other DGPs also during the period under report, i.e. Jacob Punnoose, KS Balasubramaniam and TP Senkumar. Who were responsible for what faults will be clear only after careful examinations and study. Whatever that be, the CAG report is one that will throw soot on the already dim image of Kerala police.
The accusations raised by CAG include: 25 state of the art rifles and 12,061 cartridges are missing, funds meant for construction of quarters were diverted to build villas for DGP and ADGPs, out of the Rs 45.83 crore received as fine for speed violations, only 14.7 crore was paid to the government and irregular transactions in the purchase of equipment connected with modernisation and digitalisation. Of these, the case of missing rifles and cartridges is naturally a potentially hot subject. A question will arise where these rifles have gone. Probably in recongition of the sensitive nature of this, Opposition leader has by now demanded that the matter should be referred to National Investigation Agency (NIA). He also demanded a probe into whether these have reached the hands of anti-national forces.
In our current political system, CAG reports are hugely important. It is from CAG reports that notorious corruptions originated, like 2G spectrum, SNC Lavalin and palmolein scam. The findings of CAG may be purely technical. It is the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that examines their content and makes appropriate recommendations. There have been instances where actions following CAG report led to major corruption being unearthed and the guilty punished. But in the majority of reports, that has not been the case.
Many of such reports have not brought any results and instead caused a drain on the poor man's tax money achieving nothing other than causing loss for the treasury through corruption. This gets compounded by order for probe and commission of enquiry thereby sucking further funds of the treasury. If this new CAG report is not to make an addition to such reports, every one should exercise vigilance not to let that happen. For the ruling front and Opposition, this may be just another opportunity to compete against each other and raise allegations. At the same time, the people would want to get corruption and inefficiency uncovered and the guilty punished. Therefore, if there are corrupt government servants in the police, it is imperative on the people to stay alert and diligently purse the matter until such people are brought to book.