Audits take place every year; it is the only way to keep track of expenditure and have people accountable for the actions. Whether it is small-time businesses or high profile Government avenues, there is no escaping from the audit process. During these frustrating times, many truths are revealed, the cheaters exploited and in turn, put to shame. So what has the audit of Kerala Police arms and ammunition brought into the limelight?
So when governmental chaos is on the verge of breaking out the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), will look at what is going on behind the scenes.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India is an authority, established by Article 148 of the Constitution of India. This authority audits all receipts and expenditure of the Government of India and the state governments; including those of bodies and authorities substantially financed by the government.
As per the provisions of the constitution, the CAG’s -DPC (Duties, Powers and Conditions of Service) Act, 1971 was enacted. The CAG can audit various accounts of any authorities when requested by the President. The present CAG is Mr Rajiv Mehrishi. All CAGs are appointed by the President, with a recommendation from the Prime Minister.
Mandated by the Constitution of India, the CAG promotes accountability, transparency and good governance through high-quality auditing and accounting. It also provides independent assurance to its stakeholders, the Legislature, the Executive and the Public. It also makes sure that public funds are being used efficiently and for the intended purposes.
The Case of Kerala Police
The performance audit of 2013-2018 had criticised the Kerala police for misusing of the modernization funds due to the 25 rifles and 12,061 live cartridges that were missing from the Special Armed Police Battalion (SAPB).
The claims of the 2013-2018 performance were brought onto the table on February 12, 2020, before the state Legislative assembly. It was also mentioned that the Stock Register and related records of arms and ammunition were also not maintained properly.
“The entries in the Stock Registers had many over writings, use of white correction fluid and striking off of entries etc. The entries and corrections were not properly authenticated. Audit could not find any evidence of conduct of periodical physical verification by higher officers from the records available at SAPB,” the CAG report stated.
Shouldn’t official Government records be appropriately maintained, and what does this have to tell us of the use of power in our country?
Furthermore, the audit had mentioned the funds that were given for the modernization of the police force were not being used properly. It pointed out that the public funds were being splurged on buying luxury cars for senior officers rather than buying police vehicles.
When people ask ‘where is all the tax-payers money going’ I guess we now have an answer!
During the period, pending cases increased to 9,265. The question to be asked now is- were the Ministers, Governor aware of this? If they knew why hadn’t any measures been taken to sort out the problem when it’s a matter of national security?
Although the Government of Kerala has admitted to poor maintenance of records and details, it has also mentioned that the next three to six months will be dedicated to doing a detailed investigation in the arms and ammunition audit across the state.
Reportedly, the CAG also observed that the police allegedly tried to cover-up the incident instead of taking action against those responsible. Former Home Minister and Leader of Opposition, Ramesh Chennithala has emphasized on the need to include a probe by an agency like CBI or NIA with regards to this case.
Between police officers becoming the black sheep (Davinder Singh) and mismatching audit records, it is easy to question whether or not our national security is at high risk.
Will stricter rule among police force make a difference? There are several questions, but the one that will haunt us the most is, in whose hands did the missing rifles and cartridges end up and what will that mean for the safety of our country?