Mamata Banerjee’s remarks ‘unfortunate’, within its rights to transfer cops: EC
Kolkata, Apr 07: The Election Commission of India (ECI) called West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's letter protesting the transfer of four top cops of the state police as "unfortunate" while informing her that it is well within its rights in the matter.
In its response, the EC said, "It is unfortunate that an exercise carried out by the ECI only during the duration of Model Code of Conduct is being labelled as arbitrary, motivated at the behest of the ruling party at the centre. It would not be correct and dignified to respond to such averments to prove/burnish its credentials."
The EC decision is "unfortunate, highly arbitrary, motivated and biased, and taken at the behest of the BJP", Banerjee had written urging the poll panel to review the move.
The EC had on Friday night removed Kolkata Police Commissioner Anuj Sharma and Bidhannagar Police Commissioner Gyanwant Singh in a major shake-up ahead of the seven-phase Lok Sabha polls in the state.
Rajesh Kumar, Additional Director General of Police (ADG), Pollution Control Board, was made the new Kolkata top cop, while Natarajan Ramesh Babu, ADG and IGP, Operations, was named the Bidhannagar police commissioner.
The poll body also named Avannu Ravindranath, Deputy Commissioner (Airport Division) of Bidhannagar, as the new Birbhum Superintendent of Police and appointed Srihari Pandey, Deputy Commissioner of Kolkata Armed Police, 3rd Battalion, as the Diamond Harbour Superintendent of Police.
The EC's announcement came days after opposition parties in the state alleged that free and fair elections would not be possible under these officers.