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Explanation sought on absence of Kolkata CP Rajeev Kumar at EC meeting

Rajeev Kumar had sent Special Commissioner Joyanto Bose on his behalf when EC was in Kolkata to to discuss preparedness for the Lok Sabha elections

Subhendu Maiti | Kolkata |

Apparently rattled by the queries of the Election Commission of India (ECI), the state home department sought clarifications from Mr Rajeev Kumar, Commissioner of Police of Kolkata, seeking to know ‘why was he absent from the meeting’ with the ECI’s full bench-led by the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Mr Sunil Arora on 31 January.The home department at the state secretariat Nabanna has reportedly sent a letter to Mr Kumar and sought his clarifications.

The letter seems significant at the backdrop of the dramatic confrontation between the Centre and the state since Sunday evening when both came down to the street after the CBI-Police face-off over an attempted questioning of Mr Kumar following which chief minister Mamata Banerjee along with her party leaders sat on an indefinite dharna to ‘save’ her trusted super cop from the clutches of the central investigation agency.

READ | Was Mamata Banerjee tipped off on raid?

Mamata sat on a dharna at the Metro Channel from 9 p.m. on Sunday, accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah of using the CBI to undermine the Constitution. She said she would run the state government from the dharna site and hold the key cabinet meetings before the state budget scheduled this afternoon.

On Friday, Mr Arora while speaking to reporters in the city, said that he had sought explanations from the state government on “why the CP was absent from the meeting held on Thursday with the commission”.

READ | Mamata Banerjee calls off dharna, says will take up issue next week in Delhi

During its two-day visit to the city, the commission held its first meeting on Thursday with top cops and district magistrates to discuss preparedness about the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. But Mr Kumar instead of attending the meeting had sent special commissioner of police Mr Joyanto Bose on his behalf. Kumar was found at the inaugural ceremony of the Kolkata Book Fair at Salt Lake the same day.

This made the ECI worried prompting Mr Arora to take up the matter to the Union Home Ministry if the state government failed to submit a report on Mr Kumar’s absence from the meeting. While reacting to the issue, CM said: “I feel sorry for the commission if the matter hurts them.”