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Bengal explains Calcutta police chief's absence from EC meet

Chief election commissioner Sunil Arora had expressed displeasure when Kumar did not turn up at a full bench meeting

By Pheroze L. Vincent and Meghdeep Bhattacharyya in New Delhi and Calcutta
  • Published 3.02.19, 2:00 AM
  • Updated 3.02.19, 2:00 AM
  • a min read
  •  
The Election Commission of India. Picture: Prem Singh

The Election Commission has received a letter from Bengal home secretary Atri Bhattacharya explaining Calcutta police commissioner Rajeev Kumar’s absence from Thursday’s meeting with the panel’s full bench in Calcutta.

The letter will be discussed at a meeting of the commission on Tuesday, sources said.

The letter, addressed to Bengal chief electoral officer Aariz Aftab, was sent on Friday after chief election commissioner Sunil Arora expressed displeasure at a news conference over Kumar’s absence. Shortly after Arora’s remarks, chief minister Mamata Banerjee had issued an apology for the “small matter”.

“The issue has been discussed with the commissioner of police, Kolkata. He has clarified that he was absent from the meeting on 31st January 2019 as he had applied for casual leave for personal reasons…,” Bhattacharya has said in his letter that has been accessed by this newspaper.

“…he (Kumar) thereby intended no offence or disrespect to the Election Commission of India, to the commissioners or to the officers. The error is regretted and would not be repeated,” the letter states.

“This may kindly be placed before the chief election commissioner,” the letter concludes. It has been sent by Aftab to the Nirvachan Sadan in Delhi.

Sources said after Arora commented in public on the Kumar episode, Nabanna decided it would “waste no time” in issuing an unconditional apology.