The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Five police bosses fall in fresh EC clampdown

Calcutta, May 4: The Election Commission continued its offensive against Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s police administration, ordering the removal of five officers-in-charge of police stations, including one from the city police division, from their present positions and barring them from conducting any election-related work.

The poll panel’s tough action — the third round in the past one month — almost coincided with an assault on the commission by the ruling Left Front.

Taking today’s action into account, 10 policemen, including three IPS officers, have been shifted by the Election Commission following charges levelled against them by the Opposition.

Satyajit Banerjee of Lake police station in Calcutta, Gour Gopal Mukhopadhyay of Hirapur police station, Sailaja Singh of Andal police station, Saikat Roy of Pandabeswar police station — all three in Burdwan — and Sagar Saha of Nadia’s Chapra police station were ordered to be removed immediately.

Earlier, IPS officers Gaurav Dutt, Basudeb Bag and Binoy Chakroborty were shifted on the commission’s directive. Last week, the poll panel also effected the removal of the officer-in-charge of Patashpur police station and of a junior police official of Narkeldanga police station.

Announcing the order, chief electoral officer Basudeb Banerjee said: “We have received the order from the EC at 3.07 pm today and the order must be carried out immediately. All those concerned have been informed.”

Banerjee added that Nirvachan Sadan had not cited any reason for removing the five officials. Asked if it is fair not to cite reasons if officials are being punished, he said: “A transfer is not a punishment, these officials are under the EC now.”

Malay Ghatak, the Trinamul Congress candidate from Asansol, had complained against the officer-in-charge of Andal police station. Charges were also made by Trinamul against the other two officers-in-charge of Burdwan — Hirapur and Pandabeswar.

Asked if he or the Election Commission had received any complaints against the five shifted officials, Banerjee said: “At least I am not aware of any such complaints made to the EC that was also informed or sent to me.” New officials must be appointed in these positions immediately, “if possible, tomorrow”, he also said.

The Election Commission today also informed the government that Utpal Roy, who had moved Calcutta High Court alleging that an IAS and seven IPS officers had misappropriated Rs 1.2 crore from election funds during the 1999 Lok Sabha elections, would be given a hearing by the commission on May 7.

The allegation, quoting the comptroller and auditor-general’s report, mentioned that the misappropriation of funds included spending money even on purchase of television, refrigerator and so on.

The high court had said a final affidavit stating the state government’s stand must be submitted. The state government filed an affidavit stating that the judiciary has no jurisdiction to hear the matter as it relates to the elections and so it must be referred to the Election Commission. The division bench referred the matter to Nirvachan Sadan for disposal. The poll panel has also directed that the state’s chief secretary must see to the matter.

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