EC transfers Cooch Behar SP hours before district goes to polls
Kolkata: The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Tuesday transferred Abhishek Gupta from the post of Superintendent of Police in Cooch Behar. Amit Kumar Singh, who was posted as SS, IB has become the new SP of Cooch Behar.
An Undersecretary of the ECI wrote a letter to the Chief Secretary on Tuesday, a copy of which was delivered to the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) in the state, announcing the transfer.
The letter says that Gupta will not be given any election-related duty. The Chief Secretary of the state was also instructed by the EC to ensure that the transfer procedure gets completed within 5 pm on Tuesday. Following the instruction of the commission, Singh has been made the new SP of the district.
It may be mentioned here that the move comes three days after the EC transferred four senior policemen in the state, including Kolkata Police Commissioner Anuj Sharma and Bidhannagar Police Commissioner Gyanwant Singh. Birbhum SP Shyam Singh and Diamond Harbour SP S Selvamurugan were also shunted out.
Trinamool Congress leaders have, however, cried foul regarding the removal of the Cooch Behar SP, as they claim the decision comes after BJP leader Mukul Roy, during an election rally in the district on Sunday, allegedly gave an ultimatum to the SP.
Roy had said that they would "see how powerful SP Gupta has become." He and other BJP leaders in the district had brought charges of partiality against Gupta. Roy had also said that he would remain in politics for at least 10 years and would "see how Gupta remains the SP."
Trinamool Congress secretary general Partha Chatterjee on Tuesday raised questions on the timing of transfer of the Cooch Behar SP. He said: "We wonder how a BJP leader can threaten to remove the uniform of a police officer during the Prime Minister's election rally. Two days after such derogatory remarks were made against the Police Superintendent, the EC has transferred the officer now. Many are asking questions on whether the EC is acting at the behest of BJP. We respect the EC but BJP is trying to bring it under its party fold."
Chatterjee also reminded that his party leaders will hold a meeting and decide the next course of action in this regard.
Meanwhile, it may be mentioned that Central Forces will be deployed only in the 1,067 critical booths, whereas the rest will be deployed for patrolling and guarding strong rooms. BJP had been demanding that Central Forces be deployed in every polling booth.
According to sources in the office of the Chief Electoral Officer, all the 3,844 polling booths in Cooch Behar and Alipurduar cannot be manned by Central Forces.
Around 44 companies of Central Forces have reached Cooch Behar and another 26 companies have reached Alipurduar till Tuesday evening.