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FIR slap on swaggering Subhas

The poll panel did what few dare in this red bastion - slap an FIR against transport minister and CPM satrap Subhas Chakrabarty.

india Updated: Apr 06, 2006 14:54 IST

The no-nonsense poll general, KJ Rao, might be absent but the confrontation between the Left government and the Election Commission is anything but short on fireworks. The poll panel on Wednesday did what few dare in this red bastion-— slap an FIR against transport minister and CPM satrap Subhas Chakrabarty for intimidating election officials at a rally in March.

Chakrabarty faces imprisonment up to two years or fine or both but will not be debarred from contesting the election unless he is convicted for flouting the model code of conduct. State chief electoral officer Debasish Sen lodged the FIR against Chakraborty for threatening and stopping public servants from carrying out their duties and violating the election code of conduct under sections under sections 186, 189 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code. "The police have been asked to carry out investigations and carry out the required proceedings," Sen said. This is the first time in the history of West Bengal elections that a ministerial candidate has been booked.

At a meeting in Lake Town area of north Kolkata --Chakraborty's turf-— the minister, like many other comrades, had railed about poll officials crossing their limits. But with his remark — "They were under our feet and will remain under our feet once the elections are over" — Chakraborty hurled a challenge that the Election Commission was more than willing to respond to. And it did so, without pulling any punches.

Video clips, showing the swaggering transport minister disparage poll officials have also been submitted to the police with the complaint. The Lake Town police station has confirmed receipt of a written complaint from Sen and said a case had been been registered.

Chief secretary A.K. Deb said an investigation would be con ducted on the basis of the complaint. Praveen Kumar, superintendent of police, North 24 Parganas, said, "We received a complaint against the minister on Wednesday. A case has been started and the police are carrying out investigations."

The controversy has reached the Election Commission of India, which asked for a report on the matter from the state government. The Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government has obliged.

The poll panel has also demanded a compliance report by April 6.

First Published: Apr 06, 2006 14:54 IST