Election 2019

Former Kolkata Police chief Rajeev Kumar reports to MHA, day after relieved from duty by EC

New Delhi | Senior IPS officer and former Kolkata Police chief Rajeev Kumar on Thursday reported at the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), a day after he was relieved from duty in West Bengal by the Election Commission, officials said.

Kumar, who was involved in a face-off with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with the agency’s investigation in Saradha and Rose Valley chit fund scams, was on Wednesday removed as Additional Director General, CID, in West Bengal for allegedly failing to control the incidents of violence in the state.

He was directed to report to the Home Ministry, the cadre controlling authority for the Indian Police Service (IPS) officers, by the Commission, the officials said.

The officer came in time and reported to MHA this morning. Currently, he is on attachment with the Home Ministry as per the Election Commission’s order.

In an unprecedented move, the Election Commission had on Wednesday invoked Article 324 and ordered campaigning in nine West Bengal constituencies to end at 10 PM on Thursday, a day before its scheduled deadline, in the wake of violence between BJP and TMC workers in Kolkata.

The constituencies where campaigning has been curtailed are — Dum Dum, Barasat, Basirhat, Jaynagar, Mathurapur, Diamond Harbour, Jadavpur, Kolkata Dakshin and Kolkata Uttar. Polling will be held in all these constituencies on May 19.

The vandalisation of Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar’s bust and clashes during BJP chief Amit Shah’s road show in Kolkata on Tuesday triggered a fierce blame game between BJP and the Trinamool Congress.

Shah, at a press conference, had alleged that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s TMC was involved in vandalising the bust and unleashing violence during his road show as part of a “conspiracy” to blame the BJP.

On its part, the TMC released videos to claim that “BJP goons” damaged the statue of Vidyasagar and said the videos not only establish what the saffron party did, but proved that Shah is a “liar” and a “dhokebaaz” (betrayer).

The Election Commission had on Wednesday also ordered the removal of Principal Secretary (Home) Atri Bhattacharya and Kumar from their postings.

Kumar was questioned by the CBI in February this year in connection with its probe in multi-crore Saradha chit fund case.

A team of CBI officers was stopped from entering the residence of Kumar, when he was Kolkata Police chief on February 3 when they had gone to question him in connection with the Saradha and Rose Valley scam cases.

The move had led to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee staging a dharna in the heart of the city, protesting against “the attack on constitutional norms”.

The CBI had, however, questioned Kumar for several days in Shillong from February 9 following a Supreme Court order.

The EC’s action came a day after parts of Kolkata witnessed wide-spread violence during BJP president Amit Shah’s massive road show. A bust of 19th century Bengali icon Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was also vandalised during the violence.

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