Where had all the troops gone, asks poll panel | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Where had all the troops gone, asks poll panel

PTI | ByRomita Datta, Kolkata
May 12, 2004 06:28 PM IST

The EC has sought an explanation from Kolkata Police over the ?invisibility? of Central Paramilitary Forces from the three Lok Sabha constituencies in Kolkata.

The Election Commission has sought an explanation from Kolkata Police over the “invisibility” of Central Paramilitary Forces (CPMF) from the three Lok Sabha constituencies in Kolkata. This apart, the EC has also received reports that at least 50 per cent of the 180 companies deployed all over the state could not be effectively used.

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CEO Basudeb Banerjee has written to DC (HQ) Harman Preet Singh seeking an explanation as to why no paramilitary force could be spotted in the Kolkata North-east, North- west and South constituencies.

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The EC feels that the paramilitary contingent had not been effectively used since all the commission’s observers have reported not seeing them anywhere in the city for 12 hours from 6 am to 6 pm yesterday when they were supposed to have been deployed at 9.30 pm on Sunday itself.

It has also been pointed out that while CPMF deployment was not noticed in the three city seats, as many as five companies of the force, comprising 500 men, reportedly sat the day out on the reserves bench.

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Cops not to grill Biman

Left Front chairman Biman Bose

The Kolkata Police will not question Biman Bose over the charge of “instigating his supporters to create disturbance” last evening. DC (DD-I) Soumen Mitra said they are scrutinising the EC’s complaint and “will decide the future course of action once the details have been studied”.

Officials, however, said Biman may personally appear at Bankshall Court on Wednesday to get bail in this case.

The EC had swung into action following the Left Front chairman’s statement instructing partymen to “drag EC observers to the police stations”. “We are currently going through newspaper clippings of the statement to find out what really happened. If needed we will also watch videocassettes of his speech,” a senior DD officer said. The police has initiated a case under Sections 153, 189, 171C(ii), 503, 504 and 505(i) of the IPC against Biman. (HTC)

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Though the police had from the beginning insisted that the regular armed police alone would be enough to keep order in the city constituencies, the EC had been adamant about regular patrols by the paramilitary force within every six to 10 booths.

The EC had stipulated that the CPMF’s deployment should be in such a manner that they can play a direct role in conducting the elections. It also wanted regular foot and car patrols. The observers now feel that the deployment had not been “effective” and did not adhere to the EC’s orders by the letter. In particular, the EC felt patrols on the streets were imperative to instil confidence among the people given the way muscle power has a run of the polling process.

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