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Mamata security lapse: ECI shifts DM, suspends cops

ECI concludes CM sustained injuries prima facie due to lapse on part of her security in-charge

Statesman News Service | Kolkata |

Two weeks before the first phase of the Assembly elections in Bengal, the Election Commission of India today transferred the district magistrate of East Midnapore and suspended the superintendent of police of the district as well as the director, security, of the state in the wake of the alleged attack on West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee in Nandigram on 10 March.

In addition, a second police observer has been posted to observe the conduct of the elections in the state. The ECI has appointed former DGP (Intelligence) of Punjab, Anil Kumar Sharma as a Special Police Observer for the state. Mr Vivek Dubey is the other Special Police Observer appointed for the elections in the state.

Mr Vivek Sahay, IPS, Director, Security, has been removed from his post and placed under suspension immediately.

A statement from the Election Commission said that charges must be framed against him within a week for “grossly failing in discharge of his primary duty as Director, Security” to protect Miss Banerjee, who is entitled to Z+ security.

The chief secretary has been asked to appoint a new director, security and inform the Commission within 1 p.m. tomorrow.

A committee of the Chief Secretary and DGP shall identify within next three days the other proximate security personnel below Director, Security, who failed in their duties to prevent the incident and protect the Z+ protectee VVIP and take suitable action for their failure, under intimation to the Commission by 5 p.m. on 17 March, the EC said.

The commission today discussed the reports submitted by Chief Secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay and the joint report submitted by Special General Observer Ajay Nayak and Special Police Observer Vivek Dubey on the incident.

Agency reports from New Delhi quoted sources in the ECI as saying that based on the reports, the ECI concluded that Miss Banerjee sustained the injuries prima facie due to a lapse on the part of her security in-charge.

Mr Pravin Prakash, IPS, SP East Midnapore, has also been placed under suspension and charges would be framed against him for major failure of arrangements, according to the ECI.

Mr Sunil Kumar Yadav, of the 2009 IPS batch will be posted immediately as SP East Midnapore in place of Mr Prakash. Ms Smita Pandey, IAS (2005 batch) will be posted as DM and DEO, East Mdinapore in place of Vibhu Goel, who will be transferred to a non-election post. “Chief Secretary shall ensure that the investigation of Nandigram PS Case number 97/21 is completed and action taken in next 15 days. Report shall be sent to the Commission by 31 March,” said an EC official.