Kerala Congress trains guns on CM over CAG revelations

Kerala Congress trains guns on CM Pinarayi Vijayan over CAG revelations

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. Credit: Twitter (vijayanpinarayi)

The Opposition Congress in Kerala on Saturday launched a direct attack against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on the CAG report, alleging that such serious corruption cannot take place without his knowledge.

"Considering the extent of the corruption that has taken place, it is difficult to believe that it is limited to the DGP. Such serious corruption cannot take place without the knowledge of the Chief Minister, who is heading the Home department," the Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala alleged.

"Why is the Chief Minister hesitant to act against DGP Loknath Behera? This is a cognisable offence and three FIRs should be registered for the missing cartridges, rifles and corruption," Chennithala told reporters here.

The report, tabled in the state assembly on February 12, had stated that 25 INSAS rifles and over 12,000 cartridges had gone missing from the Special Armed Police battalion in the state capital and there was an attempt at a cover-up.

It had also come down on the DGP for flouting norms to buy luxury vehicles and diverting funds meant for building homes for sub-inspectors for constructing villas for senior officers.

The revelations in the CAG report show that a "gang of dacoits" was heading the state police, Chennithala, a former Home minister, said and demanded a comprehensive probe into the various corruption charges raised in the CAG report.

Attacking chief secretary Tom Jose, the Congress leader said there is information, which raises doubts on whether the official also has a role to play in the corruption.

Jose, who has been criticised for using a luxury vehicle of the police department, cannot claim that there was nothing wrong in his act, he said.

While Chennithala has demanded a CBI probe into the CAG revelations, KPCC president Mullapally Ramachandran sought a judicial probe.

When pointed out that the two leaders had demanded different probes, Chennithala said "I have no problem if it is a judicial probe."

Stating that there were allegations that it was during his tenure as Home minister that rifles and cartridges had gone missing, the opposition leader said that should also be brought under the terms of reference as Behera was a senior police official during then.

While Chief Minister has not yet reacted to the CAG findings, Tom Jose alleged that some portions of the report had been leaked before being tabled in the assembly.

Devaswom minister Kadakampally Surendran has hinted at the "possiblity of a conspiracy" angle in the episode as Congress MLA P T Thomas had raised matters relating to the contents of the CAG report, a day before it was tabled.

"There is no doubt that a conspiracy was hatched by some centres," Surendran alleged.

Thomas hit back asking the minister to show courage and demand a thorough investigation into the matter in the next cabinet meeting.

BJP also attacked the government on the matter, with Union minister V Muraleedharan saying that the Union Finance Ministry and Home Ministry would consider the matters mentioned in the CAG report seriously.

He, however, said at present the matter was not officially placed before the Central government.

Muraleedharan also questioned the timing of DGP Behera's trip to London during March first week, saying it has to be examined whether it was a private trip or an official one.

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