Mamata security lapse: ECI shifts DM, suspends cops, appoints second police observer

Mamata security lapse: ECI shifts DM, suspends cops, appoints second police observer

Biswabrata Goswami

KOLKATA, 14 MARCH: In a major action, the Election Commission of India on Sunday suspended West Bengal’s Director Security from his post in connection with the major lapse of security that resulted in the alleged ‘attack’ on Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Nandigram. Suspending the SP and DM of East Midnapore, it also directed the Chief Secretary and DGP to identify security personnel who ‘failed in their duties’ to protect the CM over the next three days. 

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In addition, the Election Commission also appointed Former DGP Intelligence Punjab, Anil Kumar Sharma as Special Police Observer for the West Bengal polls. As Special Police Observer, Anil Kumar Sharma is the second Special Police Observer, in addition to Vivek Dube, to observe the conduct of elections in West Bengal.

The ECI met today to discuss reports submitted by Chief Secretary, Government of West Bengal and the joint report submitted by Special General Observer Ajay Nayak  & Special Police Observer Vivek Dube on the Incident at Nandigram leading to injury to Chief Minister Ms Mamata Banerjee on 10th March 2021.

After perusing the documents of CS’s report and that of Special Observers based on annexures of reports of DM, SP, Purba Medinipur and Returning Officer of 210 Nandigram Assembly Constituency, and other inputs of the facts and circumstances of the incident, the Commission decided the following:

  1. Shri Vivek Sahay IPS, Director Security  shall be removed from the post of the Director Security and be placed under suspension immediately. The charges must be framed against him within a week for grossly failing in discharge of his primary duty as Director Security to protect the Z+ protectee.
  2. Chief Secretary, in consultation with DGP, is authorised to post suitable Director Security immediately following the extant procedure. Posting order may be communicated to the Commission latest by 1300 hours on 15th March 2021.
  3. A Committee of 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+ protecteeVVIP and take suitable action for their failure under intimation to the Commission by 1700 hours on 17th March 2021.
  4. Ms. Smita Pandey IAS: 2005 be posted immediately as DM and DEO, Purba Medinipur in place of Mr Vibhu Goel IAS who shall be transferred to a non-election post.
  5. Mr Pravin Prakash, IPS, SP Purba Medinipur shall also be placed under suspension immediately and charges shall be framed against him for major failure of bandobast.
  6. Mr Sunil Kumar Yadav, IPS:2009 be posted immediately as SP PurbaMedinipur  in place of Mr Pravin Prakash, IPS.
  7. Chief Secretary shall ensure that  the investigation of Nandigram PS Case number 97/21 dated 11-03-2021 is completed and consequential action is  taken as per law in next 15 days. Report in this regard shall be sent to the Commission by 31st march 2021.

Commission further directed that since the security of star campaigners further becomes far more sensitive during the election period because of additional criticality due to possible proximity with large crowds and sensational impact of any such incidence on law and order across state, established SoPs, including advance detailed programme, necessary permissions to hold rallies or road shows, deployment, use of bullet proof vehicle, if required as per security category of protectee, deployment on pre decided route(s), observance of provisions of The Motor Vehicle Act , etc should be followed scrupulously. Any deviation from approved programme should only be permitted after necessary approval(s).

With respect to the above, Commission also decided to issue Instructions separately to the CEOs of all poll bound states/UTs to bring it to the notice of all Political Parties/ candidates, for strict compliance of the security of the star campaigners as per the category of protection and local threat assessment in accordance with extant rules /guidelines / SoPs.

In addition, Election Commission of India has also appointed Former DGP Intelligence Punjab, Sh. Anil Kumar Sharma  (Retd. IPS 1984 Punjab Cadre) as Special Police Observer for the General Elections to Legislative Assembly of West Bengal. As Special Police Observer, Sh. A K Sharma would be the second Special Police Observer, in addition to Sh Vivek Dube, to observe the conduct of elections in West Bengal.

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