Thiruvananthapuram: The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report has suggested the possibility of a scam in the purchase of voice loggers by Kerala Police.
The new allegation surfaced after the CAG report brought to light the shortage of 25 INSAS rifles and 12,061 bullets from the armoury of the Special Armed Police Battalion
In case of the voice loggers, the company, Third Entity Security Solutions Private Limited, initially selected for the supply of the equipment was replaced by another, Law Abiding Technologies, flouting all rules.
Voice logger is a device used for regularly recording telephone conversations.
It was back in January 2015 that the Kerala Police asked Keltron to supply voice loggers at a total cost of Rs 90 lakh.
Keltron informed the police that it would deliver five units at a price of Rs 3.07 lakh each. The police soon entered into an agreement with Keltron for 10 units at a total budget of Rs 30 lakh. During this time, the Director General of Police (DGP) was K S Balasubrahmaniam.
However, when the bill for this contract was paid in September 2016, Loknath Behera had taken over as the DGP.
As part of fulfilling the agreement, Keltron entered into a deal with a firm named Third Entity Solutions Pvt. Ltd. for the supply of 30 loggers at Rs 2.60 lakh each in February 27, 2015. Later, the amount was revised to Rs 2.07 lakh, based on which Keltron agreed to deliver the loggers to the police at Rs 3.07 lakh.
However, the ADGP in charge of police modernization informed Keltron that a company named Law Abiding Technologies (LAT) was willing to deliver the loggers at Rs 1.72 lakh each. The ADGP also said that Keltron’s offer of Rs 3.07 lakh could not be accepted as it was higher than the market price.
Meanwhile, Keltron was told by the DGP that restricted tenders would be invited in case a proper price was not suggested. After this development, Keltron cancelled its deal with Third Entity Security Solutions and bought 10 units of loggers from LAT at Rs 3 lakh each. The CAG report says malpractice had taken place in making the deal favourable to LAT.
According to the CAG report, the DGP sanctioned money to Keltron flouting the terms of the contract which said all proper procedures should be followed. There was a nexus between ADGP (Modernisation), LAT and Keltron.
Moreover, the police version that open tenders could not be invited as the loggers had to be used surreptitiously was baseless. According to CAG, the stand taken by the DGP to award the contract to Keltron even after it became clear that the amount quoted by it was high, raised suspicions.