EC replaces Cooch Behar SP; TMC unhappy

Kolkata, April 9 (IANS) The Election Commission on Tuesday transferred West Bengal’s Cooch Behar district Superintendent of Police (SP) Abhishek Gupta and barred him from election-related duty, two days ahead of the Lok Sabha polls in the area.

“The Commission has decided to transfer Abhishek Gupta from the post of SP, Cooch Behar, and to post Amit Kumar Singh, SS, IB, as SP Cooch Behar in his place,” said EC under-secretary Anand Kumar in a letter to state chief secretary Malay De.

The EC decreed that the joining report of the new SP has to be sent by 5 p.m. on April 9. About Gupta, the order said that “the officer being transferred will not be given any election-related duty”.

Polling in the Cooch Behar and Alipurduar parliamentary constituencies in West Bengal will take place in the first phase of the elections on April 11.

The EC order to replace the officer has been issued two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally in the area where state BJP leader Mukul Roy accused Gupta of non-cooperation and acting in the interest of state’s ruling Trinamool Congress.

Reacting to the order, Trinamool Congress charged the EC with not being transparent and impartial and said the series of decisions taken by the poll body showed it was acting at the behest of the Centre.

“The way EC is taking steps against state police officers right after the BJP leaders are threatening to take action against them, raises question on the poll body’s willingness to work transparently. It is shameful. Their steps show that they are not acting impartially. They are being run by the central government,” said Trinamool Congress Secretary General Partha Chatterjee.

The BJP leadership, however, welcomed the EC directive. “It is a very good decision by the EC. Cooch Behar is a violence-prone district. The officer was not able to handle the situation well. There have been a number of life threatening attacks on our party candidate. Other opposition parties had also complained that the SP was working in favour of a certain political party,” state BJP President Dilip Ghosh said.

The poll panel had last week ordered the transfer of four senior police officers in the state, including Kolkata Police Commissioner Anuj Sharma, his Bidhannagar counterpart Gyanwant Singh and two SPs of Bengal’s Birbhum and Diamond Harbour districts.


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