‘Parties, candidates to be reminded to follow security guidelines’.
The Election Commission on Sunday ordered the suspension of two IPS officers for their failure to protect West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during an incident in Nandigram on March 10 that left her with injuries.
Ms. Banerjee was campaigning for the ongoing state Assembly elections when she was allegedly pushed by unidentified people, leaving her with injuries to her leg.
The EC met on Sunday to discuss the reports submitted to it by the West Bengal Chief Secretary and special general observer Ajay Nayak and special police observer Vivek Dube on the incident, the EC said in a statement.
After going through the reports, the EC ordered the removal and suspension of West Bengal Director, Security Vivek Sahay and Purba Medinipur Superintendent of Police Pravin Prakash.
Regarding Mr. Sahay, the EC said: “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.” The EC also ordered charges to be framed against Mr. Prakash for “major failure of bandobast” and replaced him with 2009 batch IPS officer Sunil Kumar Yadav.
The EC said the Chief Secretary, in consultation with the Director General of Police, was authorised to post a Director Security and was required to inform the Commission of the posting by 1pm on Monday. The EC also said the Chief Secretary and DGP should identify other security officials who failed to prevent the incident and take action against them by 5pm on Wednesday.
The EC also transferred Purba Medinipur District Magistrate Vibhu Goel and appointed 2005 batch IAS officer Smita Pandey in place. The commission asked the Chief Secretary to make sure the case was investigated in the next 15 days.
The EC said Standard Operating Procedures regarding the security of star campaigners, including giving the detailed programmed in advance and taking the necessary permissions, should be “followed scrupulously”.
“Any deviation from approved programme should only be permitted after necessary approval(s),” the EC said.
The EC said the Chief Electoral Officers of the poll-bound states and Union Territory would inform political parties and candidates to comply with security SoPs for star campaigners. The EC also appointed a second special police observer, former Punjab DGP Intelligence Anil Kumar Sharma, for West Bengal.