Election Commission of India (ECI) has removed a host of senior IPS and IAS officers on charges of ‘favouritism’.
An instruction in this regard reached the State Chief Secretary Basudeb Banerjee late on Thursday evening. It may be recalled that the Chief Election Commissioner, Nasim Zaidi after convening an administrative meeting on March 15 told the media that the Commission had received several complaints against a host of officers for not following the election guidelines and violating the Model Code of Conduct.
Zaidi said that action would be taken against the officers after conducting a thorough investigation. “We had received several complaints against some senior officials and action would be taken against them after we verify those allegations from our independent sources,” Zaidi said while interacting with the media on March 15. The ECI has asked the Chief Secretary of the state to remove Superintendent of Police of four districts and the District Magistrate of Hooghly and a Sub-Divisional Officer (SDO) of Malda Sadar, and also 24 police officers of the rank of Inspector in Charge and the Officer in Charge. It was learnt that the ECI has asked the Chief Secretary Banerjee to remove Malda SP Prasun Bandyopadhaya, Burdwan SP Kunal Agarwal, Nadia SP Bhaskar Mukherjee and South Dinajpur SP Arnab Ghosh. The new SPs in the districts of Malda, Burdwan, Nadia and South Dinajpur will be Sayed Waquar Raza, Gourav Sharma, Sheesh Ram Jhajharia and Rashid Munir Khan. Sanjay Bansal who was the District Magistrate of Hooghly has also been removed. It was learnt that Mukta Arya will be the new district magistrate of Hooghly. A Block Development Officer (BDO) from Itahar in North Dinajpur and a returning officer from Rashbehari may be transferred. Kolkata’s DEO Amarnath Mallick has also being removed and replaced by Narayan Swaroop Nigam. Additionally the SDPO of Bongaon and Kandi have also been removed. The aforementioned individuals have all been relieved of their current duties and can take no further part in the election process. The Commission had taken a note against these officers against whom many complaints were raised with the Commission. Even various Opposition parties had told the Commission that some officers were acting in the direction of the ruling party. The Commission had assured them all that the complaints will be looked into. During the administrative meeting which was held at a hotel in New Town on March 15 the full Bench of the Commission had expressed dissatisfaction over the performance of some officers in the districts.