Kolkata’s New Commissioner is Known for His No-Nonsense Attitude
It was a temporary reprieve, after all. The tragic collapse of the Girish Park flyover had postponed the Election Commission’s (EC) decision to remove Kolkata’s police commissioner, Rajeev Kumar. The Commission had received complaints against Kumar from all three Opposition parties in the state: the Left, the Congress and the BJP.
Kumar found himself in the eye of a storm after a failed sting operation on BJP leader, Rahul Sinha. Earlier too, there had been complaints recorded against Kumar for destroying evidence in the Sarada case.
A fortnight after one of Kolkata’s worst tragedies, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s blue-eyed boy has now made way for an officer who should have succeeded Surajit Kar Purkayastha as Kolkata’s commissioner of police instead of Kumar in the first place.
Kolkata Gets New Commissioner
Mitra, a batch senior to his predecessor Rajeev Kumar takes over as Kolkata CP.
Kumar was removed after EC received complaints from BJP over a failed sting
operation involving police personnel.
was due to chief minister Mamata’s intervention that Rajeev Kumar had superseded
30 other officers.
police chief Mitra has a clean image and many believe EC has sent a strong message through his appointment.
Mitra was shifted out of Kolkata police and appointed additional director general of CID in the state police, and Banerjee’s chosen candidate was given the coveted post.
Now, in the midst of Assembly elections, Mitra, a 1988 batch IPS officer known to be upright and honest with a no-nonsense attitude, has been handpicked by the EC, which has made a departure from the usual practice of seeking a panel of three names from the state government.
Mitra has been described by colleagues as a ‘bhadralok (thorough gentleman); a person who will go through life adhering to the straight path; one who will not do anyone’s bidding, and will never bend backwards to please X or Y.’
A clean and professional image, and the fact that Mitra commands the respect of the rank and file are probably qualities that prompted the EC to finalise his candidature without going through the usual process.
Mitra has served in Kolkata police as deputy commissioner, detective department, deputy commissioner north, and special commissioner of police.
EC Sends a Strong Signal
Kumar has been appointed Additional Director General of the Anti-Corruption branch of the state government, a new department set up when the Trinamool Congress came to power.
Bureaucrats in Bengal are lauding this move by the EC as a strong signal to their colleagues. The message is clear: Don’t do anything contrary to the provisions of the law. It’s also a warning to officers to refrain from acting on behalf of any one individual, even though she or he may be the chief minister.
In the history of elections in Bengal, the state will see the highest deployment of central forces at polling booths. With just two of the seven phases of elections in the state done, 735 companies will oversee polling in the state.
Kolkata goes to the polls over two days, 21 and 30 April. It remains to be seen whether Mitra will fulfill the faith reposed in him by the EC.
(The writer is a Kolkata-based senior journalist)