New Delhi: The Election Commission’s abrupt transfer of West Bengal Additional Director General (CID) Rajiv Kumar Wednesday came as a result of Kumar allegedly arresting BJP spokesperson Tajinder Singh Bagga following violence at party president Amit Shah’s roadshow in Kolkata a day earlier.
Sources in the commission said that according to specific inputs the special police observer in the state sent to the EC, Kumar had arrested Bagga at about 2.30 am on 15 May “without any authority and without informing the commissioner of police”.
“Sh. Bagga is innocent in the case. He is being released immediately,” the report submitted by the special police observer reads. “It is requested that necessary action may be taken against him (Kumar).”
Kumar had allegedly raided Hotel Peerless, where Bagga was staying and sought to book him under several sections of the IPC including for rioting and arson, sources said.
Kumar was among two officers — principal secretary (home) Atri Bhattacharya being the other — the EC transferred out of the state Wednesday after its unprecedented move to end campaigning in nine West Bengal constituencies at 10 pm Thursday. Campaigning for the final phase was to end at 5 pm Friday.
According to the letter sent by the EC to the West Bengal chief secretary, Kumar has been attached to the home ministry to which he is expected to report from Thursday.
While the EC order did not give any reasons behind his transfer, it, however, said the decision had been taken on the basis of specific inputs.
Caught in centre-state crossfire
This is not the first time that Kumar, a 1989-batch IPS officer, has been caught in the centre-state crossfire. In February, a CBI team arrived to search Kumar’s south Kolkata residence, when he was posted as the Kolkata Police Commissioner, in connection with the Saradha scam. In response, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee launched a “Save Democracy” dharna to protest against the CBI’s attempt to question Kumar.
As for Bhattacharya, the EC said that he “interfered in the process of conducting the election by directing CEO, West Bengal” by means of a letter written to him.
In the letter, Bhattacharya had alleged that the central forces behaved roughly with voters, arguing that there are some “disturbing developments regarding the functioning of CAPF”, and urged the EC to sensitise the forces and ensure there is no violence during the final phase of voting in the state.
Bhattacharya, a 1989-batch IAS officer, was appointed state home secretary in 2017.
The EC’s decision comes in the wake of clashes and violence between the ruling Trinamool Congress and the BJP throughout the elections, which culminated in ugly brawls Tuesday when black flags were shown at Presidency University and Calcutta University during BJP chief Shah’s roadshow.
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