Mamata Banerjee sees red over transfer of key police officers by EC

The CM wrote a letter to EC, dubbing the transfers 'illegal'

Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee | Salil Bera Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee | Salil Bera

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday wrote to Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora, dubbing the transfer of senior police officials in the state “illegal”.

She also alleged in North Bengal that the EC was working at the behest of the BJP.

The commission, on Friday, removed the commissioner of Kolkata and Bidhannagar police and changed the superintendent of police in Diamond Harbour and Birbhum, known to be close to Trinamool Congress second in command Abhishek Banerjee and TMC strongman Anubrata Mandal.

The chief minister said, "You did it illegally. But whoever you change are all our people."

She said the EC decision was illegal as in the past, the commission removed officials only after obtaining a panel of officers from the state government for replacing those removed. Banerjee said the procedure was not followed this time and hence it amounted to violation.

The commission argued that this could have been a procedure adopted by certain people in the past. "But there is no law which says commission would have to seek panel. During elections, the entire administration is under the commission."

Rajesh Kumar has become Kolkata police commissioner and N. Ramesh Babu the commissioner of Bidhannagar police. The outgoing Kolkata police commissioner, Anuj Sharma, was only reinstated last month, replacing Rajeev Kumar, who was embroiled in the Saradha scam as an "accused", as accused by the CBI.

According to commission sources, there were several complaints lodged against Sharma over his alleged partiality. All opposition parties claimed that the Kolkata police commissioner did not take their complaints seriously and only paid heed to chief minister.

The opposition parties also accused Bidhannagar police commissioner Ganywant Singh of being partial.

Singh was under the scanner last month when he rushed to Kolkata airport after the chief minister's nephew Abhishek Banerjee's wife was held back by custom officials who wanted to search her bag. The woman resisted and called up police, and Singh himself went to the airport to help her.

All the opposition parties in the state— BJP, Congress and left parties—had brought these to the notice of the EC.