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EC to take decision on Mitra letter today

April 28: The Election Commission is likely to finalise tomorrow its course of action on chief secretary Sanjay Mitra’s letter defending his order to reinstate, after the Lok Sabha poll process ends, officials transferred by the panel.

The full bench of the commission is expected to take a decision after taking legal opinion.

Today, the commission went through Mitra’s letter, which was received yesterday, in response to an April 25 missive by the poll panel secretary seeking clarification on why the chief secretary had unilaterally issued the order on the reinstatement of eight officials. Allegations of bias towards the ruling party and inaction on complaints, mostly against Trinamul, had been levelled against seven of the officials.

“We went through the letter and are taking legal advice. We would have done the needful without having to take the opinion of our legal experts. But Mitra has mentioned a Karnataka High Court order of 2013, which needs to be examined,” a Nirvachan Sadan source said. “The final decision will be taken by the full bench tomorrow,” he added.

A senior poll panel official said the commission was in favour of instructing Mitra to issue a fresh order repealing the reinstatement clause.

“What the government does after the election process is over is none of our business, but we do not appreciate the confrontational approach of the reinstatement order, issued while the model code of conduct is still in place,” he said.

If Mitra fails to comply, the commission official added, the poll panel has the power to remove him as chief secretary.

“The commission is likely to instruct him to make sure the government issues a fresh order regarding all the removed officials without the reinstatement clause,” the official said.

Satabdi regret

The EC today showcaused Satabdi Roy for allegedly saying development projects would be taken up in places where more people vote for Trinamul. Birbhum candidate Satabdi expressed regret in her reply but added that her comments had been “misinterpreted”. The actress refused comment.