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EC Responds to Mamata Banerjee’s Letter, Says Transfer of IPS Officers in Bengal in Accordance with Law

Mamata Banerjee had written to the EC alleging that the electoral body was working at the behest of the ruling party at the Centre.

Prema Rajaram | CNN-News18

Updated:April 7, 2019, 8:12 PM IST
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EC Responds to Mamata Banerjee’s Letter, Says Transfer of IPS Officers in Bengal in Accordance with Law
File photo of West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee.
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Kolkata: The Election Commission (EC) has written to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in response to her letter on Saturday questioning the transfer of four senior IPS officers in the state.

The letter, written by one of the deputy election commissioners (DEC), said the decision was in accordance with the law and the commission was “fully within its rights” to transfer and appoint officers when the Model Code of Conduct was in force.

“It is unfortunate that an exercise carried out by EC (Election Commission) only for the duration of the Model Code of Conduct is being labelled as arbitrary, motivated at the behest of the ruling party at the Centre. It would not be correct and dignified to respond to such averments to prove/burnish its credentials,” wrote DEC Chandran Bhushan Kumar.

The letter said the decision to transfer the IPS officers were taken after a review by Kumar, who oversees the electoral process in Bengal, and Special Police Observer for the state, Vivek Dube.

Section 28A of Representation of People Act 1958 has also been quoted in the letter to support the decision.

Banerjee had written to the EC alleging that the electoral body was working at the behest of the ruling party at the Centre.

The transfers include Kolkata Police Commissioner Anuj Sharma and his Bidhannagar counterpart Gyanwant Singh. The letter said the officers who have been posted in their place were of similar seniority and being from West Bengal cadre were expected to know about field situation in the state.

"It is understood that the Government of West Bengal has already operationalised the decision of ECI in respect of transfers. This action of the Government of West Bengal amply demonstrates the willingness of the state administration to conduct free, fair, credible and ethical elections in West Bengal and ECI is appreciative of this irrespective of the factually incorrect innuendoes ...," the letter read.

It said, after several rounds of review, including the one in mid-March, the EC appointed a Special Police Observer for West Bengal. Similarly, such observers were appointed for Jharkhand, Mizoram, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh and Telangana.

"Thus, it is not as if any particular state was being singled out. Special Expenditure Observers have also been appointed for Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, Gujarat and Maharashtra," it said.

On April 5, the Election Commission had issued a letter to the chief secretary of the state directing the transfer of the four IPS officers after reviewing the poll preparations in Bengal.

The transfers came after the Bharatiya Janata Party complained to the EC that the police department in the state was working on behalf of the ruling Trinamool Congress.

(With inputs from PTI)
| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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