EC removes Kolkata Police chief
Kolkata: The Election Commission on Tuesday removed Rajeev Kumar as the Kolkata Police commissioner following persistent calls from West Bengal's opposition parties for his shifting. Additional Director General (CID) Soumen Mitra will replace Rajeev Kumar, who has been shifted to the Anti-Corruption Bureau as its additional director general, officials said.
"The city police commissioner has been replaced," a top West Bengal government official told IANS. Additional chief electoral officer Dibyendu Sarkar told the media here that the decision was taken following the directive of the Election Commission.
"Following the direction of the EC, Kumar has been removed and Mitra has been named as his replacement. The order has to be executed by Tuesday," said Sarkar. He, however, refused to divulge the exact reason behind Kumar's removal.
Opposition parties had time and again demanded that Kumar be moved out of his posting as he was "working in favour" of the state's ruling Trinamool Congress. The Bharatiya Janata Party had even accused Kumar of "orchestrating a botched sting operation" against party national secretary Rahul Sinha.
While campaigning in city for the polls, BJP president Amit Shah on March 29 alleged that Kumar "had a direct role" in the "failed sting, and claimed it was done at the behest of Chief Minister and Trinamool chairperson Mamata Banerjee.
Sinha, late last month had alleged that two of city police's special branch officers, with the motive to conduct a sting, offered him "a fat amount" to "cooperate with them" in smuggling cattle to Bangladesh.
The Communist Party of India-Marxist-led Left Front as well as the Congress have been up against Kumar, who as the then Bidhannagar police commissioner, led the investigation into the multi-crore rupee Saradha chit fund scam before the Central Bureau of Investigation stepped in.
The opposition had accused Kumar of "subverting" the investigation into the scam in which several Trinamool leaders have been arrested or interrogated by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate. Kumar, a 1989 batch Indian Police Service officer, on January 29 took over as the city police chief, replacing Surajit Kar Purakayastha.
The EC's move has been welcomed by the opposition while former city police commissioner Tushar Talukdar called Kumar's removal "unprecedented" in the state and "shameful for a police officer". "Kumar's removal has sent a strong message to all the others in the administration who have been working more like Trinamool activists," said CPI-M's Lok Sabha member Mohammad Salim.