EC raps state for top cop transfer
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The Election Commission today rapped the state government for flouting the electoral code of conduct in replacing Kolkata Police Commissioner Ranjit Kumar Pachnanda with ADG Law and Order Surajit Kar Purokayastha in the run-up to the February 23 byelection to three Assembly constituencies.
The state government, on its part, admitted its "lapse" and promised that it would not happen again.
It all started after the CPM and Congress filed complaints with the Election Commission following the transfer of the police commissioner soon after the murder of ASI Tapas Choudhury by goons in Garden Reach on February 13. They alleged that the transfer amounted to a violation of the model code of conduct, which was in effect because of byelections in Nalhati, Rejinagar and Malda.
Since the ADG, Law and Order, of the state police was in charge of deployment of forces, a change of the post without prior approval of the EC amounted to a violation of the electoral model code.
"The home secretary of the state government has written to us that since the area where the murder took place was a communally sensitive area, the police establishment board on February 14 made a recommendation for the change and considering the gravity of the situation the transfer was effected. He also admitted a lapse on the part of the government. Considering the situation, we have given post-facto approval with a caution that the government should not indulge in such acts in future,'' Chief Electoral Officer Sunil Gupta said today.
At Writers' Buildings, home secretary Basudeb Banerjee said that they had received the approval from the EC.
Meanwhile, it was learnt from state government sources that Pachnanda had gone on a two-month leave. Pachnanda was replaced by Purakayastha on an order by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is in-charge of the Home (Police) Department.
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