Kolkata Commissioner Rajeev Kumar Removed by EC for Partisan Role
Kolkata Police commissioner Rajeev Kumar was replaced after state opposition’s persistence.
In an unprecedented move, the Election Commission last week removed Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar who has been accused of being a TMC stooge.
While opposition parties say that the state EC was not being partial, the body’s decision may well lead to violence during the 17 April Assembly polls.
The state EC that came under criticism following Monday’s polls, took this decision even as several complaints were lodged against the state’s Chief Election Officer Sunil Gupta, who is allegedly partial to the TMC. Opposition parties also questioned the role of Sudhir Rakesh who was deputed by the EC to Bengal during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
Sharma Linked to Sting Operation Against BJP
On 28 March, BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha had caught two officials of Kolkata Police red-handed. In an aborted sting operation, the duo had tried to bribe him and pay proceeds of cow smuggling. Sinha is a party nominee from Kolkata’s Jorasanko seat. He alleged that the two policemen approached him on orders of Rajeev Kumar.
The EC took his complaint seriously and independently decided to appoint Somen Mitra, ADG, CID as the new commissioner of Kolkata Police, without consulting the TMC government.
This is perhaps a signal by the EC that it will act if police or civil officials are found to be biased during the polls. However, TMC sources said, ‘like during the 2014 polls when the EC had removed (sic) police officials but Mamata reinstated them once the poll was over, she would bring back Rajeev Kumar too after the polls were over.’
Sharma’s Removal to Dent TMC’s Image?
This is the first time a Commissioner of Kolkata Police has been removed on charges of being partial and serves as a big blow to the TMC government. Rajeev Kumar was also accused by opposition parties of destroying evidence in the multi-crore Saradha chit fund scam while he was commissioner of Bidhannagar City Police.
All opposition parties welcomed the move. There are more that 24 Assembly seats within greater Kolkata which can be a deciding factor for Mamata.
Tushar Talukdar, a retired IPS and former Kolkata Police Commissioner welcomed the EC’s decision saying that this signified the breakdown in trust for the state administration.
This was expected as the EC had decided earlier after its own probe about the role of Rajeev Kumar. But he stayed back due to the collapse of the flyover.Md. Salim, CPI(M) Politburo Member and Lok Sabha MP
We have always been pointing out the role of Rajeev Kumar, whom the chief minister appointed as Commissioner of Police in Kolkata, in rigging polls.Adhir Chowdhury, State Congress President and Lok Sabha MP
Before the 2011 Assembly polls Kolkata CP Goutam Chakraborty was removed but on the grounds that he had completed three years in that post.
Calls for Removal of Deputy EC
Adhir Chowdhury wrote to the chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi demanding the removal of the Deputy Election Commissioner Sandeep Saxena.
The Deputy Commissioner has sold himself to the TMC as during the first phase of polling on 4 April and 11 April. Central forces were not deployed, and wherever they were, they were seen taking rest. Under such circumstances his role is doubtful and he should be removed from supervising polls in West Bengal.Adhir Chowdhury, State Congress President and Lok Sabha MP
“Like during 2014 the EC observer was partial and helped the TMC to win, this time too we apprehend there will be violence during the polls on 17 April and Saxena will side with the ruling TMC,” he observed.
The “Save Democracy Forum” led by former Supreme Court judge Asoke Ganguli too moved the state EC alleging violence by the TMC and apprehending violence during the next leg of polling.
Polling will be held on 17 April in 56 Assembly constituencies in north Bengal and politically volatile Birbhum district.
Union MoS for urban development Babul Supriyo who was campaigning in South Dinajpur in north Bengal said, “Terror by the ruling party is likely to increase. The EC is doing a good job but we expect it to function much better.”
However, the Left Front remained silent about the role of the EC as CPI(M) state secretary and Leader of the Opposition in state Assembly Surya Kanta Mishra during a public meeting at Suri in Birbhum predicted a defeat for Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee and claimed that even “TMC workers being tortured and murdered due to factional feuds will vote for the Left-Congress alliance”.
(The writer is a former Executive Editor, Ananda Bazar Patrika)
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