The Election Commission (EC) has dismissed the allegations of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee that it carried an “arbitrary, motivated” order on transfer of state police officials “at the behest of the ruling party at the Centre”.
In a letter dated April 6, the Deputy Election Commissioner Chandra Bhushan Kumar wrote that the Election Commission has acted as per the law and that it was within its rights to transfer the four IPS officers. After cross-checking complaints by oppositions and ECI’s own assessment, the transfer order was placed, he said.
In what could be viewed as a humiliation to CM Banerjee, Mr. Kumar referred to “factually incorrect innuendos” in the letter and wrote, “It is unfortunate that an exercise carried out by ECI only for the duration of the Model Code of Conduct is being labeled as arbitrary, motivated at the behest of the ruling party at the Centre. It would not be correct and dignified to make such averments to prove/burnish its credentials.”
On Friday, the election body has ordered the removal of top four IPS officers and replaced them with officers without reportedly consulting the state government or asked a panel of officers to choose from, which was the pattern.
The top four police officers included two Police Commissioners – of Bidhannagar, and Kolkata- and two Superintendents of Police of Diamond Harbour and Birbhum districts. The EC has also ordered that these top four officers couldn’t be involved in any election duty.
On Sunday, PM Modi said at an election rally in Cooch Behar that “the anger of Mamata Banerjee at the election commission is a sign that she knows the earth is slipping out from under her feet.”
CM Banerjee replied at an election rally at Jalpaiguri saying, “If you think you will win elections by transferring a couple of officers, you are wrong. They are all our officers and you are doing this because you know you are going to lose.”
She had also named the BJP in her letter to the EC and urged it to review its decision and also unearth, who was actually behind the decision to transfer the top four IPS officers.
Mr. Kumar wrote back in his four-page letter, “ It is not as if any state was being singled out.”