The Election Commission on Monday hit out at the West Bengal government for not taking its prior approval before undertaking a police reshuffle prior to the February 23 by-election to three Assembly constituencies in the state.
The Election Commission has given "post-facto approval to the transfer of ADG (Law and Order) S Purkayastha as the city police commissioner and asked the state government to be careful in future", Chief Electoral Officer Sunil Gupta told reporters here.
He said that state Home Secretary Basudeb Banerjee had written a letter to the Election Commission admitting "lapse on the part of the state government in not seeking prior approval of the EC with regard to the transfer of the ADG (law and order) and other appointments before the Assembly by-poll".
The CEO quoted the letter to say that the state government had stated that it had no intention to bypass the Election Commission.
Gupta said that the home secretary in his letter had admitted that "prior approval should have been taken, and inadvertently this could not be done because of the situation in the city at that time. He asked the EC to excuse them...
"They have requested the EC to grant post facto approval of Surojit Kar Purkayastha's transfer and appointment of Banibrata Basu as ADG (Law and Order) and Soumen Mitra as IG (Law and Order)."
Senior police officials, including Kolkata police chief RK Pachananda, were transferred two days after a police officer was killed in a violent incident outside a college in the city's Garden Reach area on February 12.
Pachnanda was replaced by Purakayastha on an order by chief minister Mamata Banerjee who is in-charge of Home (Police) department.
Opposition parties claimed the transfers were made in violation of the EC code of conduct and had written to the EC to look into the case.
Gupta said that Left parties had met him with allegations that the transfer of ADG (law and order) was not in conformity with the commission's existing law, since the ADG law and order was in deputation of the Election Commission... We got a similar complaint from the state Congress.