Campus clash: Police chief of Kolkata axed

National

Two days after Special Branch police officer Tapash Choudhury was killed in campus violence in Garden Reach area, Commissioner of Police R K Pachnanda was removed from his post on Thursday evening.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee told the media that his removal was a result of the incident at Harimohan Ghosh College on Tuesday. After visiting the slain policeman's house and announcing a compensation of Rs 25 lakh, she hinted at more arrests in the case.

Governor M K Narayanan, who, too, visited Choudhury's house, was not convinced about the alleged politician-criminal nexus that has come to the fore after the incident. When asked about the removal of Pachnanda, he said that it was not proper to remove the police commissioner, but it was not for him, as the Governor, to take a call in this matter. Narayanan added that he visited the family not as the Governor, but as a former police officer.

The government was unhappy about the near absence of senior police officers at the spot after Choudhury was killed. Pachnanda reportedly reached the spot nearly five hours after the incident.

A section of top police officers and bureaucrats alleged that Urban Development Minister Firad Hakim was behind the police commissioner's removal. A top police officer said that with his closest aide in Garden Reach, TMC councillor Md Iqbal, accused in the case, the minister took his revenge by influencing the decision to remove Pachnanda.

On Thursday, the police raided Iqbal's house. Raids also continued for another accused, Mokhtar of the Congress. It was learnt that both may surrender or seek anticipatory bail on Friday.

A section of TMC leaders reportedly did not like the way two FIRs were lodged after the incident, one having booked Md Iqbal under non-bailable sections.

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