Headquarters of the Election Commission of India in New Delhi | Source: ECI
Headquarters of the Election Commission of India in New Delhi | Commons
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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.

Also readHow to give headlines: A warning from BJP’s Amit Shah to the media in Bengal

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.

Also readTrinamool-BJP clashes just another chapter in Bengal’s long history of political violence


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  1. Spineless EC Sunil A. has unwittingly given away the game. So we know that it was this man, Tejinder Bagga, a BJP man, who conceived and orchestrated the violence. Senior police officers have their ears to the ground. Why did Rajiv Kumar zero in on Bagga, clearly an outsider, and not on any other BJP man? There must be tens of BJP supporters from outside Calcutta who might have reached there specifically for Amit Shah’s road show.

    If EC’s informant, who sent a report against Rajiv Kumar, was so confident that Bagga was innocent, then obviously he had access to some reliable intelligence network. In that case, has he named any TMC man who according to his information was responsible for the mayhem? Or another BJP man or a Congress man or a CPM man? If this informant’s network is in complete dark about “who did it”, then how can he be so confident that Bagga didn’t do it? And how can he come to this conclusion so quickly?


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