By-polls: EC seeks report on cops’ transfer

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has reportedly asked for a report from the state chief secretary regarding the transfer of certain top police officials in the context of the ensuing state Assembly by-polls.

By-poll is to be held on February 23 in Nalhati in Birbhum, Rezinagar in Murshidabad and Englishbazar in Malda. The commission is said to have asked if the transfers had the sanction of the Police Establishment Board and also what were the circumstances in which the transfers were made.

Earlier in the day, a CPM delegation led by CPM state committee member Rabin Deb met the Chief Election Officer, West Bengal, Sunil Gupta and lodged a complaint against the government's decision of transferring Surojit Kar Purakayastha to the post of Commissioner of Police from the post of ADG, law and order, when by-poll is due in three districts in the state. The CPM delegation has termed the decision of the state government as a violation of model code of conduct.

Questions were raised whether the government took prior permission from the Election Commission before ordering the transfer of two police officers — Purakayastha and Banibarata Basu (ADG, IB) — when three districts of Bengal will hold bypolls on February 23. After meeting the CEO, Rabin Deb said: "Gupta has told us that the government did not take a prior permission before issuing the order of transfer. He has assured us that the commission will look into the matter."

Gupta, however, told mediapersons that the complaint has been forwarded to the ECI.

Deb further mentioned that the state home department issued an order in January in regard to the bypoll in three districts in which the government had mentioned that certain police officers holding certain positions cannot be changed before the elections. ADG, law and order, was included in the list, added Deb.

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