Former Kolkata police chief Rajeev Kumar reported for duty at the Home Ministry in Delhi today after the Election Commission relieved him as the additional director general of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in West Bengal. The poll commission's move to attach him with the Home Ministry came after violence during a rally by BJP chief Amit Shah in Kolkata on Tuesday.
However, Mr Kumar reported for his new posting over two hours later than the time set by Election Commission, news agency IANS said. Rajeev Kumar reported to his supervising officer in the Ministry between 12 noon and 1 pm and then left, IANS said, quoting unnamed sources.
The 1989 batch IPS officer, who was Kolkata Police Commissioner between May 2016 and February 2019, missed his 10 am reporting time at the Home Ministry as he was waiting for his relieving order from West Bengal government, IANS reported.
The agency had earlier said Mr Kumar had failed to show up to his new posting.
Rajeev Kumar had earlier been questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with the multi-crore Saradha chit fund scam.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had in February staged a 70-hour sit-in protest after the CBI tried to question Mr Kumar at his residence in Kolkata, which was blocked by the local police. The CBI later had to approach the Supreme Court, which allowed the questioning in a different state but stopped the agency from arresting him.
The Supreme Court will rule tomorrow on whether the agency can arrest him as the CBI has accused him of not cooperating with its investigation.
Along with Mr Kumar, the Election Commission had also removed West Bengal's Principal Secretary, Home, Atri Bhattacharya for "having interfered" in the poll process and curtailed the poll campaign in the state by a day. Campaigning will now have to end on 10 pm on Thursday for the remaining nine Lok Sabha constituencies going to the polls on May 19.
The Election Commission took the decision, as it invoked - for the first time - Article 324 of the constitution which gives it special powers to control and give directions for holding elections.
According to the poll body, the decisions were taken "as an action on violence in West Bengal on Tuesday" during a roadshow conducted by BJP president Amit Shah. The violence had also led to the vandalism of a statue of Bengal renaissance icon Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar. But the election body in its order did not mention why Mr Kumar was relieved from the CID.
An intense political battle has unfolded over the violence. Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee and her party leaders have brought out photos and videos to support their claim that it was BJP workers who vandalised the statue.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today denied the Trinamool Congress's accusation and hit back at the ruling Bengal party. "We saw hooliganism by TMC workers again during bhai Amit Shah's roadshow in Kolkata, they vandalised Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar's statue..." he said.
(With inputs from IANS)