Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala Police Chief Loknath Behera found himself on Wednesday in the eye of a storm after a report by Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) accused him of diversion of funds and violation of norms in purchases.
The CAG’s performance audit for 2013-18 pinned Kerala police for alleged misappropriation of funds, and lapses in handling arms and cartridges in its special armed units.
Funds to the tune of Rs 2.81 crore meant for constructing official residences had been diverted, reportedly, by the State Police Chief for himself and his immediate juniors.
Although the finance department objected the move, Behera allegedly got his decision to raise five villas ratified. However, the money was meant for constructing staff quarters for 30 upper subordinates.
The report questioned Behara, a 1985-batch IPS officer, is due for retirement in 2021, for spending lavishly the fund funds meant for operational effectiveness of the force on vehicles.
As a result, 15 per cent of the 269 light motor vehicles procured by the police department were luxury cars. This happened at a time when police stations are facing shortage of vehicles.
Another serious accusation was the alleged deployment of the bullet-resistant vehicles, mean for operations in Naxal-hit areas, for VIP security.
More important, the report accused the police department of hushing up missing of ammunition. As many as 25 rifles and 12,061 live cartridges were missing from the artillery, it is revealed.
The loss of arms and ammunition could kick up political storms in Kerala as it impinges on security. The report also points at delay in disposing cases at Forensic Science Laboratories.
Just as the report is out, Opposition made calls for CBI probe, with Congress lawmaker PT Thomas firing the salvo.