IPS officers row: Mamata tears into Centre says won’t allow proxy control of Bengal govt
New Delhi, Dec 17: The Centre sent a fresh missive to the West Bengal government on Thursday, asking it to immediately relieve three IPS officers who have been sought for central deputation, saying all of them were already given new assignments, officials said.
In a communication to the West Bengal chief secretary, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said according to the IPS cadre rules, the Centre prevails over a state government in case of any dispute. It said the three IPS officers were already given new assignments in the central government and they should be relieved immediately, the officials said.
The three officers -- Bholanath Pandey (SP, Diamond Harbour), Praveen Tripathi (DIG, Presidency Range) and Rajeev Mishra (ADG, South Bengal) -- were responsible for the security of BJP chief J P Nadda during his December 9-10 visit to the politically volatile state. The three IPS officers were directed to join the central deputation for alleged dereliction of duties after Nadda's convoy was attacked at Diamond Harbour.
The MHA said Pandey has been appointed as the SP in the Bureau of Police Research and Development, Tripathi as the DIG in the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and Mishra as the IG in the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP). The copy of the letter has also been sent to the West Bengal director general of police (DGP).
On December 12, the West Bengal government had conveyed to the Centre that it would not be able to spare the three IPS officers. A state government's consent is taken before any all-India service officer is called to serve in central deputation. However, in this case, the MHA has unilaterally taken the decision, bypassing the state government, under a clause of the Indian Police Service (Cadre) Rules, 1954. The rules say in case of any disagreement between the central and the state governments, the "state governments concerned shall give effect to the decision of the central government".
The MHA had summoned the West Bengal chief secretary and DGP on December 14 for an explanation on the law-and-order situation in the state. However, the state government had refused to acknowledge the summons. The two top civil and police officers were called by the MHA after West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar sent a report on the attack on Nadda's convoy with stones and bricks at Diamond Harbour, the Lok Sabha constituency of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's nephew Abhishek Banerjee.
Dhankhar had also alleged at a press conference in Kolkata that violators of law have the protection of the police and the administration in West Bengal and any resistance by the opposition is quelled. The West Bengal government has not sent a report on the "serious security lapses" during Nadda's visit to the state, as sought by the MHA.
The chief minister had mockingly distorted Nadda's name at a recent rally in Kolkata and termed the attack on his convoy a "staged act". The cars of several BJP leaders, including that of the party's national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya and West Bengal unit chief Dilip Ghosh, which were part of Nadda's convoy, were also damaged in the attack.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah had said "Bengal has descended into an era of tyranny, anarchy and darkness under the Trinamool rule.... The manner in which political violence has been institutionalised and brought to the extreme in West Bengal under TMC rule is sad and worrying".