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Poll scan on former cops Surajit Kar Purkayastha and Rina Mitra

The ECI held that Purkayastha and Mitra could play a role in the poll process because of their OSD status
The Election Commission of India
The Election Commission of India
Picture: Prem Singh

Pranesh Sarkar   |   Calcutta   |   Published 20.03.19, 08:09 PM

The Election Commission of India has asked the Bengal government to send a list of retired IAS and IPS officers serving as officers-on-special-duty (OSD).

The query, sources said, will bring the role of two retired IPS officers under the poll panel’s scanner. The two are state security advisor Surajit Kar Purkayastha and internal security advisor Rina Mitra.

Mitra is a retired Madhya Pradesh cadre IPS officer.

According to a source, the chief electoral officer of Bengal has sought a list of OSDs at the earliest and the names will be sent soon. “None of the retired IAS officers is involved with the election process directly. But some of the retired IPS officers are holding posts, which might influence poll process and the ECI may ask questions,” said an official.

He said Purkayastha and Mitra could play roles in the poll process due to their positions.

While some officers think that the ECI query has a basis, others say the BJP is trying to make “mountain out of a mole”.

“There is nothing wrong in appointing OSDs. The BJP is trying to spread canard and that’s why it has lodged a complaint with the ECI to discredit the Bengal government. The ECI has asked for details and they will get the list soon,” said a source.

The sources said if the ECI was convinced that the two officers could play any role in the poll process, they may take some action.

“The ECI usually doesn’t allow officers who are not under is control to function in the government. That is why all IPS officers up to the rank of DGP remain under the ECI’s deputation during the poll process. But retired officers do not have such accountability,” explained an officer.

“The ECI can always ask questions on their roles,” said a police source.

The appointment of retired IAS or IPS officers as the OSDs was “Bengal phenomenon”, said a source.

“And most serving officers do not approve of the trend as it reduces their chances of career growth. Besides, the retired officers are not accountable to the system and their decisions often malign the entire service,” said an IAS officer, who did not wish to be named.

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