Calcutta, Feb. 16: The state government could face a rebuke from the Election Commission for not seeking its approval for the transfer of additional director-general (law and order) Surajit Kar Purakayastha while he was on deputation of the poll panel for the Assembly bypolls.
The commission, according to sources at Nirvachan Sadan in Delhi, can also overrule the transfer till the election process gets over.
The results of the bypolls in Nalhati (Birbhum), Englishbazar (Malda) and Rejinagar (Murshidabad) will be announced on February 28.
“We could either let the government go with a rap on the knuckles in the form of an official reprimand or we could make the state keep the transfer in abeyance till the election process is over. The decision will be taken on Monday,” a Nirvachan Sadan source said.
On Thursday evening, Purakayastha was appointed the police commissioner of Calcutta, replacing R.K. Pachnanda. The former commissioner had earned the ire of the chief minister for his role in the investigation of Tuesday’s Garden Reach clash in which a police officer was killed.
Purakayastha had been on the commission’s deputation since January 14.
A notification by home secretary Basudeb Banerjee had said the police officer would be “subject to control, superintendence and discipline of the Election Commission… till the end of the election”.
“During such deputation, he could have been transferred only after getting the commission’s permission. No such permission was sought by the state government,” a Writers’ source said.
A Left Front delegation led by Rabin Deb this morning submitted a written complaint by chairman Biman Bose to the chief electoral officer of Bengal, Sunil Kumar Gupta, who alerted the Election Commission.
“This is ridiculous…. The home secretary had to overlook rules and standard procedure under the orders of the chief minister. This shows yet again how the Trinamul government is functioning,” Deb said later.
A senior Nirvachan Sadan official said the complaint was received with a note from the chief electoral officer. The note mentions that the state government had not sought the poll panel’s sanction before the transfer.
“That is in direct violation of Section 28A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, which empowers the commission during electoral processes,” a senior poll panel official said this evening.
Chief secretary Sanjay Mitra dodged questions on the alleged violation. “Let the commission instruct us. Whatever instructions we get, we will act accordingly,” Mitra said.