Home minister refuses to name three others apart from DGP Pande and Ahmedabad police chief
Besides DGP P C Pande and Ahmedabad Commissioner of Police O P Mathur,the Election Commission (EC) has asked three more IPS officers to be shunted out from their current plum positions. The move is considered unusual,as the dates for the Lok Sabha elections are yet to be announced.
Minister of State for Home Amit Shah admitted to Newsline that Pande was transferred on the ECs recommendation. He,however,said there was a general advisory from the EC to shift all those officers who had been earlier transferred on its orders in 2002 or during the 2007 Assembly elections from posts that had a direct or indirect bearing on the outcome of the elections. There are a total of five such officers,including Pande,out of all those transferred in the last one week, Shah said. He,however,refused to divulge the identity of the other officers.
Usually,the EC transfers officers after election dates are notified. It is for the second time that the EC has transferred Pande from the DGPs post. The timing of Pandes transfer is significant. In a reshuffle on February 18,Pande was relieved from the additional charge of director of the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB). O P Mathur was given the rank of DG while he held the post of Ahmedabad
Pande was the Ahmedabad Police Commisioner during the 2002 riots,and was shunted out as DGP in October 2007 following the ECs directive. But after sweeping the Assembly polls,the Modi government got Pande back as the DGP. Recently,Pande was questioned by the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) in connection with the 2002 riots.The state election office,following a letter from the EC,dated February 4,had sought the removal of certain police officers,which the state government did not comply with in the February 18 reshuffle. The move definitely did not go well with the EC,which,according to sources,communicated it to the state chief secretary. On February 21,the Home Department issued orders to transfer Pande as Director of ACB,and O P Mathur as DG (Communications).
According to sources,Chief Election Commissioner R Gopalaswamy,during his private trip to Gujarat on February 11, had met state Chief Secretary D Rajagopalan and had asked him to ensure the removal of those officers who had been shunted out by the EC during the 2002 and 2007 Assembly polls.
Before the 2007 polls,the state government had dragged its feet over the transfer of four IPS and two IAS officers,but had to give in after the EC maintained a tough stance. The four IPS officers at that time were I M Desai (holding the post of DIG,Border Range),J N Rajgor,N D Solanki,S K Gadhvi (all Superintendents of Police).