Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday apologised to the Election Commission (EC) after the panel sought an explanation from the state government for the absence of city Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar at a meeting it had convened to discuss the poll preparedness. Kumar, considered a blue eyed boy of the Chief Minister, had not turned up for the meeting with the full bench of the EC on Thursday and instead the city police was represented by Special Commissioner (II) Jayanta Kumar Basu.
Taking umbrage, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora told the media that a letter in this regard has been sent to Home Secretary Atri Bhattacharya. “The EC has sought an explanation from the Home Secretary for the absence of Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar at its meeting on Thursday,” said Arora. A short while later, Banerjee met the media to give her reactions on the Union Budget.
When a reporter asked her about the development, Banerjee first blamed the media. “What I heard, you people insisted. Why are you so bothered?” she said. However, she then apologised to the EC, but said Kumar was on leave. “If anything has happened, we apologise for that. This is a small matter… If the EC has felt bad I am sorry for that,” she said.
Banerjee also referred to the EC directive to transfer all the officers who have completed three years in a posting or are serving in their home district. Kumar, who took over as city Police Commissioner in February, 2016, would complete three years in the post well before the polling process ends. “He has completed three years (in the same post). He was on leave… The EC has already sent us a letter putting restrictions on deployment of officers occupying any post… “
Banerjee said her government would abide by the EC order and complete all follow-up steps by February 20. “We will complete all this within February 15 or February 20. So process is going on.”