Kolkata: For the first time ever, West Bengal will have a State Security Advisor or SSA who will take office from Friday, June 1. But even before the first SSA takes office, the brand new post, created by the Mamata Banerjee government on May 23, has run into condemnation from the opposition BJP.
- For the first time ever, West Bengal will have a State Security Advisor
- Bengal BJP criticises move, says whose security will he advise on?
- State police chief Surajit Kar Purakayasta, who retires today will be SSA
The incumbent Director General of Police or DGP who retires today, Surajit Kar Purakayasta, IPS, has been named SSA by Mamata Banerjee. He was earlier Kolkata Police Commissioner too.
But BJP leader Rahul Sinha attacked the move saying, "Whose security will he advise on? Mamata Banerjee's or the people? We saw what security he gave people in the panchayat polls."
Mr Sinha said the "police minister" - Mamata Banerjee is also home minister and in charge of police - was an abject failure and she had created the SSA post for Kar Purakayasta,
"A DG who can't handle a panchayat poll...gets a promotion," Mr Sinha said and claimed the "shameful conspiracy by the Trinamool government" was linked to "Mamata Banerjee's prime ministerial aspirations."
"He was a failure as Commissioner of Kolkata Police, as DG, as DG on illegal extension. Now he will be SSA and pretend to be Ajit Doval?" Mr Sinha said.
"Actually, Mamata Banerjee knows her prime minister dreams will never come true. By creating a post like Ajit Doval's, she is trying to make up for that," he added.
An IIT alumnus, Kar Purakayasta was given a two year extension as DGP on the eve of his retirement in 2016.
The SSA will have two offices - at Nabanna, the state secretariat, and at the state police headquarters, Bhabani Bhavan. The SSA can also appoint deputies.
While the BJP's SSA tirade was political, the new post has caused some closed-door flutter among bureaucrats. Initially, the post was seen as reward for a distinguished officer trusted by the chief minister.
But the powers vested in the post, as per the gazette notification of May 23, are sweeping, say some sections, and may dilute the DG and even the home secretary's authority over the police force.
Retired and serving officers, speaking on condition of anonymity, say, with 2019 polls round the corner, the chief minister wants a trusted police officer at the helm of law and order. She has lauded the DG's handling of the panchayat poll during which, according to the government, 14 people were killed. The poll was held with only state police and unarmed civic volunteers.