Clean chit to observer irks CPM

The party has asked the commission to clarify whether its observers enjoyed executive powers.

india Updated: Apr 10, 2006 15:29 IST

Angered by the Election Commission's clean chit to its observer who directed the recent raid on a CPI(M) office in West Bengal, the party on Sunday asked the commission to clarify whether its observers enjoyed executive powers to direct arrests and conduct raids under the present laws of the land.

The party also took umbrage to the report by a two-member inquiry team of the panel, which held that "distorted and unfounded allegations had been levelled against the observer who performed his duty". The CPI(M) said the commission's statement seemed more of a "post-facto defence of his (observer's) partisan behaviour".

The EC and the Left have been engaged in a war of words since the poll process began in Bengal. This latest confrontation is over a raid of the party office in Keshpur, which has witnessed bloody turf wars between the Trinamool Congress and the CPI(M) in the past, by a joint force of Punjab Police and RAF.

The raid, for illegal arms, was ordered by election observer Manmohan Singh, allegedly at the in stance of the Trinamool candidate for the Keshpur seat. Trinamool supporters were also present during the raid that failed to unearth any arms.

Sunday's statement by the politburo also drew the attention of all political parties to the "attitude" of the commission.

"All political parties must be concerned by the attitude adopted by the commission which does not consider raids on the offices of a nationally recognised party instigated by electoral rivalry of an opposing candidate to be a serious matter," the CPI(M) said.

The statement also pointed out several flaws in the commission's inquiry report. "The politbureau is surprised to note that the conclusions of the inquiry conducted on the entire sequence of the raid and the role of the concerned observer does not tally with the facts revealed in the statement itself," the release said.

CPM accuses EC of acting at the instance of rival candidate. Questions the observers authority to order arrests and conduct raids. Demands to know if the present laws in the country allow such executive powers to poll officials.

First Published: Apr 10, 2006 15:29 IST