Updated: March 17, 2021 7:06:34 am
Turning down Mamata Banerjee’s request to reinstate her chief security officer, the Election Commission (EC) wrote to the West Bengal Chief Minister on Tuesday saying a new officer has already been posted with the concurrence of the state government. It also said that Banerjee is trying to “belittle” the institution with innuendos that the EC is acting at the behest of one political party.
“Commission maintains the position that they would not like to keep on being put in the dock for alleged proximity to any political entity, etc. However, if Hon’ble CM persists in creating and attempting to perpetuate this myth for reasons best known to her, it is singularly unfortunate, and it is only for Hon’ble CM to adjudge as to why she is doing so,” Deputy Election Commissioner Sudeep Jain wrote in his letter to Banerjee.
The EC on Sunday suspended Vivek Sahay, Banerjee’s chief security officer, for the security lapse that led to the CM’s injury during her election campaign in Nandigram last week. IPS officer Gyawant Singh has been posted in Sahay’s place.
It also suspended the East Midnapore SP Pravin Prakash and transferred District Magistrate Vibhu Goyal to a non-election post. The EC has ordered that charges should be framed against Sahay, IPS, Director Security, for failing to discharge his duty of protecting a Z+ protectee, and against Prakash for “major failure of bandobast”. After this, CM Banerjee was learned to have written to Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora, urging him to reverse the decision to suspend Sahay. She also appealed to Arora to “hear the grievances of all political parties and not be guided by any particular dispensation”.
Earlier, addressing a rally in Bankura, Banerjee targeted the BJP, alleging that it was unleashing a plot to kill her. She also accused EC of being biased towards the BJP and covering up its actions.
The EC, in its response, quoted the report of its Observers. The joint report said, “The flippant attitude towards the security of the Honourable CM exhibited by Vivek Sahay… is evident by the fact that he was sitting in the bullet-proof car meant for the VVIP… Even if the VVIPs choose to flout the prescribed security norms/protocols… it is incumbent upon the security detail to prevail in such matters …”
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