Top cop shown the door

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Heads have begun to roll in the aftermath of the killing of a police officer in Garden Reach area of Kolkata. Kolkata Police Commissioner R K Pachnanda was removed from his post late on Thursday evening.

The move comes just two days after the campus clash in which Special Branch police officer Tapas Choudhury was killed, and within hours of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's return to Kolkata from Digha.

Mamata told the media at Writers' Buildings that the commissioner's removal was a sequel to the Garden Reach incident, and that the police had failed to arrest those named in the FIR.

However, top police officers as well as bureaucrats revealed that the reason for the Pachnanda's unceremonious exit could surely be attributed to manipulations by Trinamool Congress cabinet minister Firhad Hakim, who had a definite stake in protecting some of the culprits in the case and a score to settle with the top brass of Kolkata Police.

Complaints were lodged with Mamata about the handling of the Garden Reach situation. One top police officer said: "Firhad took his pound of flesh by influencing the CP's removal as revenge for his closest aide in Garden Reach — Iqbal Ahmed, TMC councillor and borough chairman — having been put in the dock by the police."

Chief secretary Sanjoy Mitra, responding to media queries, said: "The transfer of offiecers is always a prerogative of the government. There is no good transfer, bad transfer. The government acts in the best interests of the people."

Surojit Kar Purokayastha took charge as Kolkata Police Commissioner late tonight. He said he would try to shoulder the responsibility given to him, and that the police would strictly follow the rule of law.

Even as news broke about Pachnanda being removed, a huge contingent of policemen from the anti-rowdy section of Lalbazar, Kolkata Police headquarters, swooped down on Ahmed's house at Iron Gate Road in Garden Reach. Six jeeploads of policemen searched his house but he could not be found. Raids were continuing for both Iqbal aka Munna of TMC and Mokhtar of Congress. Both have gone into hiding and might surrender or seek anticipatory bail tomorrow, it was learnt.

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