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Govt. sees bid to sensationalise CAG report

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The State government on Friday appeared to push back on what a senior official termed as an entrenched attempt to sensationalise the CAG’s report to target State Police Chief Loknath Behera personally. Chief Secretary Tom Jose denounced on record “attempts” to single out “any one officer” for vilification by sensationalising the CAG’s report and presenting information in a cherry-picked manner. Mr. Jose, in a veiled comment on the Opposition, wondered how the media had got bits and pieces of the CAG’s report before it was tabled in the Assembly. Congress legislator P.T. Thomas had sought an anti-corruption inquiry against Mr. Behera in the Assembly the previous day by raising some details that subsequently figured in the CAG’s report. Mr. Jose said there was credible ground to suspect that at least parts of the report were leaked to media before legislators saw the document. The Chief Secretary’s statement could open the door for the ruling front legislators to petition the Speaker citing breach of parliamentary privilege. Mr. Jose said the audit covered the period between April 2013 and March 2018 and spanned the terms of two governments. Officials said Mr. Jose felt that the report in the public domain appeared to unfairly suggest that the findings were only for the period of the current government and during the tenure of the present set of officers. He said that some sections of the media had gone beyond the ambit of the CAG’s findings to disparage individual officers personally. Mr. Jose termed the trend unfortunate. The government had modalities of answering the CAG’s queries. The response required processing time. However, the media appeared to have jumped the gun and damned individual officers and portrayed them as wrongdoers. Mr. Jose said such attempts to tar and feather officers ran against the cardinal principles of democracy. The government would reply to the points raised by the CAG. It would also state its case before the Public Accounts Committee. Mr. Jose said as Chief Secretary he could requisition any government vehicle for his use and commuting to work in a Police Department vehicle was no great wrong.

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