EC removes Rajeev Kumar from the post of Kolkata police chief

The BJP and Congress had recently moved the EC seeking removal of Kumar alleging that he was close to Mamata Banerjee and accused him of "snooping" on opposition leaders, bureaucrats and journalists.

Written by Arshad Ali | Kolkata | Updated: April 13, 2016 12:43 am
Outgoing Police Commissioner  Rajeev Kumar(left). Express Archive Outgoing Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar(left). Express Archive

CONTROVERSIAL KOLKATA Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar was on Tuesday removed from his post by the Election Commission (EC) following complaints against him by Opposition parties in poll-bound West Bengal.

The 1989-batch IPS officer will be replaced by ADG (CID) Soumen Mitra. The 1988 batch IPS officer is scheduled to take charge on Wednesday. This comes days after the Opposition — CPM, Congress and BJP — had lodged complaint with the EC, alleging that Kumar was biased towards the state government.

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“Following an order of the Election Commission, the Kolkata Police commissioner has been removed from his post. ADG (CID) Soumen Mitra will replace him,” said Additional Chief Electoral Officer Dibyendu Sarkar.

The poll panel also wrote a letter to state Chief Secretary Basudeb Banerjee, asking him to act on this issue. Confirming the development, Banerjee said: “Yes, Rajeev Kumar is being replaced by the ADG (CID) Soumen Mitra.”

Officials at the CEO office said the complaints against Kumar and the demand for his removal was under consideration for sometime.
Kumar was appointed as the Kolkata Police commissioner in January. The BJP and Congress had recently moved the EC seeking his removal, alleging that he was close to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. The parties had accused him of “snooping” on Opposition leaders, bureaucrats and journalists.

The BJP had lodged a complaint with the EC after an alleged failed sting operation against the party’s national secretary and former state unit president Rahul Sinha last month. Two Kolkata Police personnel had allegedly tried to bribe Sinha in return for Centre’s help to smuggle out cows to Bangladesh. Sinha had alleged that it was a conspiracy by the ruling Trinamool Congress to trap BJP leaders in the sting operation. “He had engineered the plot to frame me. He has been rightly served,” Sinha said on Tuesday.

The Opposition, while welcoming the EC decision, said it would deliver a stern message to police officers who work on behalf of the Trinamool.

“This is an unprecedented step taken by the EC… We welcome the move. Rajeev Kumar would have been removed long ago had the flyover collapse not happened. We believe that the decision will send out a strong message to those police officers who are still working on behalf of Trinamool,” CPM Politburo member Mohammed Salim said.

BJP national secretary and party co-observer for Bengal, Sidharth Nath Singh, said: “We welcome the decision. We had lodged a complaint against Rajeev Kumar with the EC…” Former state Congress president and MP Pradip Bhattacharya said free and fair polls would have never been possible in Kolkata with Kumar at the helm of city police.

Trinamool secretary general Partha Chatterjee, however, declined to make any comment on the development. (WITH PTI)