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After SC Stops CBI From Arresting Rajeev Kumar, MHA Seeks Disciplinary Action Against Top Cop

Former MHA officials who have dealt with Centre-State relations said the MHA action appears to me more for optics.

Arunima | CNN-News18Arunima24

Updated:February 5, 2019, 10:00 PM IST
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After SC Stops CBI From Arresting Rajeev Kumar, MHA Seeks Disciplinary Action Against Top Cop
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee with Kolkata Police commissioner Rajeev Kumar during the Joint Investiture Ceremony of West Bengal Police and Kolkata Police, in Kolkata on Feb 4, 2019.
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New Delhi: Escalating the battle between the Centre and the state, the Ministry of Home Affairs has written to chief secretary of West Bengal seeking disciplinary action against Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar.

The top cop was seen sitting with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday and Monday as she sat on dharna protesting the CBI’s attempt to raid the residence of the former.

In a letter dated February 5, the Police division of MHA said that Rajeev Kumar is prima facie guilty of violating all India service rules as he sat on a political dharna.

The MHA communication cited the extant provisions of the rules 3(1),5(1) and 7 of the AIS (conduct) Rules, 1968 which were reportedly flouted by Rajeev Kumar.

Under rules 3, 5 and 7 Rajeev Kumar has been accused of criticising the government, embarrassing the government and Centre-State relations.

The letter quotes AIS rules and states, "3( 1) Every member of the Service shall at all times maintain absolute integrity and devotion to duty and shall do nothing which is unbecoming of a member of the Service.

“5( 1) No member of the Service shall be a member of, or be otherwise associated with, any political party or any organization which takes part in politics, nor shall he take part in, or subscribe in aid of, or assistant in any other manner, any political movement or political party.”

“7. Criticism of Government --No member of the Service shall, in any radio broadcast or communication over any public media or in any document published anonymously, pseudonymously or in his own name or in the name of any other person or in any communication to the press or in any public utterance, make any statement of fact or opinion,

"i. which has the effect of an adverse criticism of any current or recent policy or action of the Central Government or a State Govemment; or

"ii. Which is capable of embarrassing the relations between the Central Government and any State Government; or

"iii. which is capable of embarrassing the relations between the Central Government and the Government of any Foreign State."

Mamata Banerjee has accused the BJP and union government of misusing the CBI for political vendetta against her government.

Former MHA officials who have dealt with Centre-State relations said the MHA action appears to me more for optics.

"State government is not rule bound to take action as asked for by the MHA. Home affairs is the cadre controlling authority but since he is working with the state government now they can make their own assessment,” said MHA official who did not wish to be named.

Officers close to Rajeev Kumar disputed the charge that he was sitting on dharna. They argued that as a city police commissioner he was present during the investiture ceremony and did not criticise the government even when he was on stage.

The Bengal CM has alleged that NSA chief Ajit Doval was "giving instructions" to CBI and PM Modi to take action against TMC leaders and policemen.

The Trinamool Congress chief further said that it was her duty to protect her officers. "The CBI came to Rajeev Kumar's house without a search warrant. How audacious it was? They are playing with the Constitution. I will not tolerate this," she said.

As politics continued to play out on the street, Banerjee received support from several leaders of the 'anti-Modi' bloc, including Arvind Kejriwal, Akhilesh Yadav, MK Stalin, Sharad Pawar and HD Deve Gowda.

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