Thiruvananthapuram: The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) report on the audit of modernisation of weapons in Kerala Police has reported that 25 rifles and 12,061 live cartridges belonging to the Special Armed Police Battalion (SAPB) are missing.

Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala demanded a National Investigation Agency (NIA) probe into the issue. He also sought the removal of DGP Loknath Behera stating that there is a criminal conspiracy behind the incident.

The audit also observed that the Stock Register and related records of arms and ammunition in the SAPB were not properly maintained.

"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.

"Audit, therefore, conducted (16 October 2018) a test-check including joint physical verification in the SAPB, to assess whether the physical stock of arms and ammunitions agreed with the stock registers and whether the system of accounting of arms and ammunitions was robust and reliable. The joint verification conducted by Audit in the Bell-of-Arms of SAPB along with the Assistant Commandant revealed shortage of 25 Nos. of 5.56 mm INSAS rifles and 12,061 live cartridges," it said.

The CAG observed the police allegedly tried to cover-up the incident instead of taking action against those responsible.

"Audit observed from the following instances that the Police Department was aware of the shortage in ammunition and attempted to cover up the shortfall instead of identifying and taking action against the culprits responsible or the loss of ammunition," read the report.

"Audit noticed that the shortage of 250 Nos. 9 mm Drill Cartridges was sought to be covered up by replacing the same with 250 Nos. of dummy cartridges. There was no document on record to show how these dummy cartridges came into the possession of the SAPB and how these were taken into stock. The Commandant, SAPB offered no explanation to Audit on how the 250 unauthorised dummy cartridges came into their possession," it said.

The CAG report stated that there was an attempt to cover up an earlier shortage of 7.62 mm M80 bullets for Self-Loading Rifles by an Investigation Board constituted in September 2015.