Was Mumbai Police Joint CP Deven Bharati transferred after Congress top brass met EC?

Updated: Apr 08, 2019, 14:22 IST | Faizan Khan and Suraj Ojha | Mumbai

Sunday's shunting of Joint Commissioner of Police for law and order Deven Bharti by the Election Commission came after Ahmed Patel's meeting with poll officials

Deven Bharti, former JCP (law and order)
Deven Bharti, former JCP (law and order)

Deven Bharti, former joint commissioner of police (law and order), was on Sunday transferred as joint commissioner of Economic Offences Wing (EOW). While the official line is that he had overshot his tenure, sources said that the top brass of the Indian National Congress met senior officials of the Election Commission on Friday accusing Bharti of being pro-Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP). Taking serious note of this, Arora issued an instant order asking the state government to transfer him from his current post with immediate effect.

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The delegation of top Congress leaders, including MP Abhishek Manu Singhvi; former political secretary to Sonia Gandhi, Ahmed Patel; in-charge of communications, Randeep Surjewala and MP and former Union Minister Jairam Ramesh had told the Election Commission that a BJP sympathiser occupying such an important post during the elections could pose a hurdle to free and fair elections.

Congress's Jairam Ramesh
Congress's Jairam Ramesh

The delegation also insisted that Bharti should be removed from his post immediately as he has served at the post for more than the official tenure of any officer, which is two years. The tenure can extend to three years during elections. Bharti has served for four years, since April 2015.
UPS Madan, chief secretary, told mid-day, "We have been informed by the Election Commission that the officer has completed his tenure and he should be removed from his post immediately."

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When contacted, Bharti, said, "I have taken the charge as Joint Commissioner of Economic Offences Wing (EOW) as per the government's order." The official complaint that had been made to the Election Commission by the Congress delegation only mentions his tenure. However, in a verbal communication, the senior Congress leaders made a series of allegations against Bharti. There were also anonymous letters received by the Election Commission that had several allegations against him. Sources refused to divulge the content of the anonymous letters, and said, "We are looking into it."

Abhishek Manu Singhvi
Abhishek Manu Singhvi

Earlier in March, the state government had transferred seven IPS officers in the wake of the elections. Officers of the rank of additional director general of police (ADGP) and additional commissioner of police (Addl CP) were transferred within the state. Though Bharti, too, had served more than his tenure, the government had not included his name in the list. However, later, the government sent a proposal seeking the EC's nod to retain Bharti in the Mumbai police force till the elections. The proposal was rejected by the EC, following which the state government filed a fresh application and it was accepted. The EC's decision did not go down well with the Opposition.

When being asked why the EC accepted the government's proposal the second time to allow Bharti to hold his post till the crucial Lok Sabha elections, an officer from the EC said, "In the second proposal, the government had informed us about law and order problems as the police chief was newly appointed. But, now it seems that the commissioner has spent enough time to understand Mumbai's law and order scenario."

Ahmed Patel
Ahmed Patel

The Congress, in its letter to the EC, had stated: 'In light of the above mentioned we, therefore, humbly and respectfully, request this Hon'ble Commission to utilise its powers under Article 324 of the Constitution of India and address the issue by passing directions to the State Election Commission for immediately transferring the aforementioned Joint Commissioner of Police to ensure the integrity of the upcoming elections.'

Randeep Surjewala who had met the Election Commission about Deven Bharti
Randeep Surjewala who had met the Election Commission about Deven Bharti

2
No. of years the tenure of a joint commissioner lasts

About Deven Bharti
Bharti, a 1994 batch IPS officer has been holding the Jt CP L&O post for more than four years. He had been investigating several high-profile cases including 26/11, the murder of mid-day's Senior Crime Editor J Dey. He was also one of the officers whom the state government trusted to execute capital punishment to 26/11 terrorist Ajmal Qasab. Bharti is also known for breaking the backbone of the terror outfit Indian Mujahideen in the state.

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