Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan rejects CBI probe

CAG report states that 25 INSAS rifles missing.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday rejected the Congress-led Opposition demand for a CBI probe into rifles and live cartridges going missing from armed police battalion. Vijayan said his government had taken the issue seriously and ordered the probe. A police official has been arrested in connection with the allegations and a departmental inquiry has been ordered against 11 police personnel.

While replying to questions by Opposition members during question hour on the opening day of the 27-day session, the Chief Minister slammed the UDF for raising “baseless charges.” Earlier, the proceedings began with the Opposition members coming to the House holding banners and placards to demand a probe by the central investigating agency into portions of the CAG report, which highlighted the rifles going missing, being leaked before being tabled in the House.

The Chief Minister said that the Crime Branch was conducting a comprehensive inquiry into the allegations of the weapons going missing, and the Opposition should wait for the outcome of probe.

Vijayan said of the 660 INSAS rifles in possession of armed police battalion, 647 were physical counted by the crime branch team under the supervision of senior police officers recently. During verification, it was found that 13 rifles were issued to the armed police battalion which is stationed in Manipur for training.

Vijayan accused the previous UDF government of trying to “cover up” the complaint of missing cartridges when the issue first came to light in 2015. On the allegations that some of the portions of CAG report getting leaked, the Chief Minister said the matter should be examined as it was not a good practice.

The CAG had disclosed in its report on February 12 that 25 INSAS rifles and 12,061 live cartridges were missing from Special Armed Police Battalion stationed in Thiruvananthapuram.

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