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Chandrababu Naidu Calls Poll Body 'Biased' After Chief Secy's Removal, Dares Centre to Arrest Him

This is the second major blow to Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu as the EC had removed two of his most-preferred top bureaucrats from their positions during election time.

News18.com

Updated:April 5, 2019, 10:31 PM IST
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Election Commission office, New Delhi.
File image of Election Commission office in New Delhi.

Amaravati: Hours after the Election Commission shunted out Anil Chandra Punetha as Andhra Pradesh chief secretary, chief minister Chandrababu Naidu slammed the poll body as "biased" and sought a reason for his transfer.

"For what mistake did the Election Commission transfer Chief Secretary? How can you transfer without telling the mistake he did? How can you transfer without telling the mistake he did? It's not right to do whatever they like," he said.

Condemning the move, the CM dared the authorities to "arrest him tomorrow or day after". "I am condemning all the centre's conspiracies against AP. I will see what you do," he said.

EC removed Punetha from the post in the evening and appointed senior-most IAS officer L V Subrahmanyam of the 1983 batch in place of the former.

This is the second major blow to Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu as the EC had removed two of his most-preferred top bureaucrats from their positions during election time. Also, the ECI directed that Punetha, scheduled to retire from service May-end, be posted to a 'non-election' position.'

Punetha, toeing the ruling TDPs line, had filed a writ petition in the Andhra Pradesh High Court on March 27 challenging the EC order transferring the Director General of Intelligence A B Venkateswara Rao.

In the petition, he contended that the EC did not have any 'untrammelled powers' to interfere with the course of administration that is unconnected to polling. "The EC cannot engage in unchecked, arbitrary and uncanalised exercise of power.

The EC order suffers from the vice of lack of jurisdiction, suffers from being a colourable exercise of power and is based on alien purposes or oblique motives which have nothing to do with the conduct of polling duties, state Political Secretary (General Administration Department) N Srikant had said in the petition filed on behalf of the Chief Secretary.

The Chief Secretary, in fact, complied with the EC order Tuesday midnight and transferred the Intelligence DG, along with two district SPs, but he cancelled the Intelligence chiefs transfer order on Wednesday morning after the Chief Minister raised a hue and cry.

The High Court rejected the Chief Secretarys petition last Friday, forcing him to issue an order shifting the controversial DG (intelligence). The EC apparently did not take to this kindly and cracked the whip on the Chief Secretary.

(With inputs from PTI)

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