Why Behera alone under radar for CAG rap? What about Senkumar and Balasubramanian?

Why Behera alone under radar for CAG rap? What about Senkumar and Balasubramanian?
TP Senkumar (L), Loknath Behera (C), KS Balasubramanian (R).

All the violations and failures the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has detailed in its latest report – the missing bullets, the diversion of funds to keep the top officers cosy – have now been saddled on Behera's back.

Fact is, several of the problems the CAG had unearthed had happened during the UDF tenure, under former DGPs KS Balasubramanian and T P Senkumar.

The shortage of 25 INSAS rifles and 12,061 bullets from the armoury of the Special Armed Police Battalion (SAPB), Thiruvananthapuram, was detected in September 2015, when Senkumar was the state police chief. Over 7,000 rounds were missing when Senkumar was in control.

Irony is, Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala has called for a National Investigation Agency (NIA) probe into the missing bullets. What Chennithala seems not have realised is that he was the home minister when the bullets went missing.

However, to Senkumar's credit, it were the two investigation boards constituted under his watch that established that bullet boxes were tampered with. It was up to his successor, Behera, to follow up. This, the CAG report said, has not happened.

“The police department failed to act upon the report of the board and trace the missing ammunition or fix responsibility on the officials who committed the serious offence,” the report said.

The unauthorised purchase of 'bullet resistant vehicles' happened during Behera's time but the decision to purchase 'mobile command and control vehicles' with no regard for established norms was taken in 2013 and 2014 when KS Balasubramanian was the DGP and the UDF was in power.

In 2013 it was decided to modify a Toyota Fortuner with additional features like a 10.1-inch tablet with docking station, Wi-Fi board, USB TV card, software for video conferencing and cameras with in-built battery. The order was given to Toyota Kirloskar Motors without issuing tenders and assessing the capability of the supplier. As it turned out, the supplier failed to make half the modifications.

In 2014, again under Balasubramanian, it was decided to modify two Innova cars as 'mobile command and control medium vehicle' with hi-tech communication and negotiation facilities. Once again Toyota Kirloskar Motors was preferred without inviting expressions of interest from other vendors. The failure to deliver earlier did not stand in the way of Kirloskar Motors. The supply order also specified that additional requirements like proper navigation, control and command facilities, head light and tail light glass protection should be done free of cost by the supplier.

When the retrofitted cars came, they could not be used for the stated purpose of mobile command and control. Once again, only a few modifications could be done and the department had to shell money from its coffers to make the necessary modifications.

Further, the purchase of luxury vehicles at the cost of operational ones had happened right from 2013, from Balasubramanian's term through Senkumar's and up to Behera's.