The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Poll complaint against Subhas reaches police
- Remarks on officials labelled 'intimidating'

Calcutta, April 5: The Election Commission today lodged a police complaint against Subhas Chakraborty, accusing him of making remarks against election officials that amount to 'intimidation'.

Chief electoral officer Debashis Sen filed the complaint at Lake Town police station this afternoon.

The move follows a commission directive that a complaint be filed against the transport minister. A video cassette containing Chakraborty's remarks has been deposited with the police.

A few days ago, he had launched a vitriolic attack on government officials engaged in poll work, saying they were acting as 'EC stooges' despite being on the state's pay rolls.

The commission had taken exception to the remarks made in a campaign speech and asked the CEO to initiate action. Sen was also told to send a compliance report to the commission by tomorrow.

The sections of the Indian Penal Code under which the minister has been booked relate to obstructing public servants from discharging their duties, issuing threats of injury to public servants and criminal intimidation.

Asked to comment on the charges, Sen said: 'As directed by the commission, I sent the letter of complaint to the police today. (The) EC says he (the minister) publicly made statements that were intimidating to election officials and not conducive to free and fair polls.'

The police should start the investigations immediately, he added.

There is, however, no possibility of the case having any implication on Chakraborty's candidature from Belgachhia East. 'Unless convicted, no one can be barred from contesting,' Sen said.

Chakraborty said: 'Let it (the EC) do its job, we will continue our political programme. I have heard that an FIR has been lodged against me at Lake Town police station. I do not want to comment on that.'

He added: 'Let us first see what action the commission takes' only then will we react. We are discussing the matter in the party and a decision will be taken after the EC makes its next move. Our party general secretary, Prakash Karat, has already replied to the notice that the EC had issued. I have nothing more to say.'

Sources close to the minister said the CPM brass had asked him not to speak against the poll panel as the party's central committee has already taken up the matter with the poll panel. Although the leadership has objected to some activities of commission officials and some of its directives, the party does not want a leader to be dragged into a controversy.

'The party has asked Su-bhasda to concentrate on the election campaign and not go into a confrontation with the EC,' a source said.

The chief electoral officer is also looking into reports that many CPM supporters accompanied Chakraborty when he went to file his nomination yesterday. Not more than five are allowed within 100 metres of a returning officer's office during the process.

Chief election commissioner B.B. Tandon, who was to come to the city this evening, cancelled his trip because of other pre-occupations. His deputies are coming tomorrow.

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