The Election Commission of India (ECI) removed Kolkata police commissioner Rajeev Kumar on Tuesday after allegations of working at the behest of the Trinamool Congress, embarrassing West Bengal’s Trinamool Congress at a time the assembly elections are underway.
The BJP recently alleged that Kumar, an IPS officer of the 1989 batch, had a hand in an attempted sting operation on its former state president, Rahul Sinha.
Two policemen were suspended for allegedly trying to bribe Sinha, who made them wait and alerted police.
The BJP alleged that the Trinamool Congress, which was embarrassed by a video that purportedly showed 13 party leaders accepting cash bribes to lobby for a fictitious company, was behind the foiled sting.
Kumar became the commissioner in January-end. Before that, he was criticised for his alleged inaction as the head of a team set up by chief minister Mamata Banerjee to probe the multi-crore Saradha scam.
The case, which shocked the country and became a political issue, was later handed over to the CBI.
“We have implemented the ECI directives soon after we received it today (Tuesday),” said a senior bureaucrat at the state secretariat Nabanna.
“The ECI move is unprecedented in Bengal. For the first time a police commissioner is removed from his post on charge of his bias role relating to elections,” he added.
The Congress too complained to the poll panel against Kumar and wanted his immediate removal from the post. Opposition parties requested the commission to keep him away from election-related duties.
CPI(M) MP and politburo member Md Salim said Kumar’s removal was a good decision.
“EC has taken the right decision by removing Rajeev Kumar who is close to the chief minister. Free and fair elections were not possible under him,” said BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha.
In the Bengal elections, a formidable Trinamool Congress is up against the BJP, which is trying to gain a foothold in the state where it has been traditionally weak.
The Left Front, which ruled Bengal for three decades before Banerjee came to power in Bengal, is in an alliance with the Congress.