West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday termed the Centre’s move to send three IPS officers from the state on central deputation despite the state’s objection “a colourable exercise of power” and a “deliberate attempt to encroach” upon the state’s jurisdiction.
The Centre has asked the West Bengal government to immediately relieve the three IPS officers so that they join their new assignments.
The officers — Rajeev Mishra (1996 batch), Praveen Tripathi (2004 batch) and Bholanath Pandey (2011 batch) — were directed to report on central deputation hours after the West Bengal government refused to send its chief secretary and police chief to Delhi to discuss the law and order situation in the state.
In a fresh order, the ministry cited rules of Indian Police Services (IPS) while asking the state government to relieve the three officers — Pandey (SP, Diamond Harbour), Tripathi (DIG, Presidency Range) and Mishra (ADG, South Bengal).
The three were responsible for the security of BJP chief J P Nadda during his recent visit to the state when his convoy was attacked at Diamond Harbour.
The order also cited Rule 6(1) of the Indian Police Service (Cadre) Rules of 1954 and amended in 1985 which states, “…provided that in case of any disagreement, the matter shall be decided by the Central Government and the State Government or State Governments concerned shall give effect to the decision of the Central Government”.
The Centre has already issued posting to Pandey to join in the Bureau of Police Research and Development, Tripathi as DIG in the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and Mishra as IG in the Indo-Tibetan Border Police.
In a series of tweets, Banerjee slammed the Centre’s move.
“GoI’s order of central deputation for the 3 serving IPS officers of West Bengal despite the State’s objection is a colourable exercise of power and blatant misuse of emergency provision of IPS Cadre Rule 1954,” she tweeted.
“This act is nothing but a deliberate attempt to encroach upon State’s jurisdiction & demoralize the serving officers in WB. This move, particularly before the elections is against the basic tenets of the federal structure. It’s unconstitutional & completely unacceptable!,” she added.
“We wouldn’t allow this brazen attempt by the Centre to control the State machinery by proxy! West Bengal is not going to cow-down in front of expansionist & undemocratic forces,” she said in another tweet.
After the attack on Nadda’s convoy, the Ministry of Home Affairs had summoned the West Bengal chief secretary and DGP on December 14. However, the state government refused to send the officers for a meeting with Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla. The two officers were called after Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar sent a report on the attack.
After the MHA summoned the three IPS officers for new postings, the state on December 12 conveyed to the Centre that it would not be able to spare them.
A senior Bengal official said the Centre usually “takes the state government’s consent” before an all-India services officer is called for central deputation, but in this case, the MHA has decided “unilaterally”.
A senior officer in the state home department said the state government had refused to relieve the three officers due to a shortage of IPS officers in the state.
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