Calcutta, Apr 8 (PTI): West Bengal has requested the Election Commission to reconsider its decision to transfer eight bureaucrats and police chiefs alleged to have been biased towards the ruling Trinamul Congress while on poll duty, a day after an enraged Chief Minister Mamata Banjerjee threatened to defy the order.
“Yes, the Chief Secretary has written to the Commission urging it to reconsider its decision regarding removal of the officers,” a highly placed source told PTI.
He said the Chief Secretary has also pointed out that the transfers were made and their replacements in the vacancies were done without consulting the state government.
On Monday, the EC had ordered removal of five superintendents of police, a District Magistrate and two additional DMs following complaints against them.
Those shunted out for ‘bias’ towards the ruling party were North 24 Parganas DM Sanjay Bansal, Malda’s police chief or SP Rajesh Yadav, West Midnapore’s SP Bharati Ghosh, Murshidabad’s SP Humayun Kabir, Burdwan’s SP S.M.H. Meerza, ADM West Midnapore Arindam Dutta and ADM South 24 Parganas Alokesh Prasad Roy. One SP, Alok Rajoria of Birbhum, was transferred to fill a vacancy, and did not face any charge.
It had also named the officers who are to replace those transferred out.
On Monday, addressing an election rally, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had taken serious exception to the transfers and said she was not going to accept the order.
She had said, “I will not remove a single officer. Let the Commission do it. The transfers were made without consulting the state government. I heard that the five SPs have been given transfer orders. Without even asking the state, the (new) names have also been decided”.
Under the Constitution and the Representation of the People Act, all government officials given a role in the conduct of elections are deemed to be on deputation to the Election Commission, and subject to its control and discipline till the results of the election are declared.
Sunil Gupta, the state's Chief Electoral Officer, told PTI “I heard that the Chief Secretary has written a letter to the CEC this morning. I don't know the content. Please ask the Chief Secretary about it.”
To a question if he had any communication from the CEC's office in this regard, Gupta said, “I don't have any communication as yet.”
The state’s advocate general, Bimal Chatterjee, refused to comment on whether he was consulted by the state government on a possible crisis over the Chief Minister statement that the EC directive would not be followed.
”I will not say anything on this,” he said when contacted over phone.