This Article is From Oct 12, 2023

Poll Body Orders Transfers Of Senior Officials In 5 Poll-Bound States

The poll panel's action came two days after the election schedule was announced in five states - Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Mizoram and Rajasthan.

They said there would be zero-tolerance for any kind of "partisan behaviour" by officials.

New Delhi:

The Election Commission on Wednesday ordered the transfer of nine District Magistrates, 25 senior police officials including Commissioners of Police, SPs, additional SPs and four Secretaries and Special Secretaries across five poll-bound states due to "unsatisfactory performance", sources said.

The poll panel's action came two days after the election schedule was announced in five states - Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Mizoram and Rajasthan.

The sources said the poll panel has given directions for immediate handover of charge of officers transferred to immediate juniors and directed respective states to send the panel by 5 pm on October 12.

They said there would be zero-tolerance for any kind of "partisan behaviour" by officials.

"The Commission during the review meetings found that the performance of some officers was unsatisfactory and were found complacent, if not complicit. The Commission has ordered the transfer of nine DEOs or DMs and 25 Commissioner of Police, SPs, Additional SPs in these five polls going states," a source said.

Those whose transfer has been ordered include three Commissioners of Police in Telangana - Warangal, Hyderabad and Nizamabad.

The sources said the Election Commission ordered transfer of non-cadre SPs in Telangana and Secretary Transport, Director Prohibition and Excise and Commissioner of Commercial Tax have been transferred from their present posts.

They said SPs of Hanumangarh, Churu, Bhiwadi have been transferred in Rajasthan

Special Secretary, Food Civil and Supplies Department, Chhattisgarh has also been removed from the present post, the sources said.

They said the poll panel, during the exhaustive reviews in the five poll going states, had clearly directed all the enforcement agencies and district administration for an increased vigil and no tolerance towards the distribution of inducements during the electoral process.

CEC Rajiv Kumar had said during the press interactions that the Commission has called for steps against the movement and distribution of liquor, cash, drugs and freebies.

"These four are our top priority for free fair and inducement-free elections," Rajiv Kumar had said during the press conferences held in these states.

Intense review of sensitive routes and zones for the transport of these illicit items was done by the Commission and enforcement agencies were directed to function in a coordinated manner with joint operations.

The Commission gave clear directions for strict vigil on inter-state border check posts to dry up the inflow of cash, liquor, freebies and drugs and keep strict vigil over 940 border check posts in these five states.

Those ordered to be transferred include DMs, who also function as District

Election Officers in RangaReddy, Medchal Malkajgiri, Yadadri Bhuvangiri and Nirmal in Telangana; DEOs of Ratlam and Khargone in Madhya Pradesh and DEO of Alwar in Rajasthan.

Those transferred also include two DEOs in Chhattisgarh (Raigarh and Bilaspur).

Sources said among the "25 CPs, SPs, Additional SPs" transferred there are "ten SPs (non-cadre police officers) from Telangana, three Commissioner of Police from Telangana (Warangal, Hyderabad & Nizamabad, two from Madhya Pradesh (Jabalpur, Bhind), three SPs (Korba, Rajnandgaon, Durg) and two Additional SPs from Chhattisgarh (Bilaspur and Durg), two from Mizoram (Champhai and Saiha) and three from Rajasthan (Hanumangarh, Churu, Bhiwadi)".

The sources said as per inputs, illegal liquor from Haryana and Punjab enters Rajasthan through Hanumangarh, Churu, Jhunjhunu, Alwar which reaches the hinterland districts as well as neighbouring Gujarat.

"After assessing the performance of officials in sensitive districts, the Commission has transferred the SPs of Hanumangarh, Churu, Bhiwadi and DEO Alwar in the state of Rajasthan," a source said.

"Similarly, during the review meeting in Telangana, the Commission noted that several non-cadre officers are posted as district incharge while officers from administrative and police services were given non-significant postings. The Commission ordered the transfers of 13 SPs/CPs in the state," the source added.

The sources said there were large-scale complaints regarding blatant misuse of money power during the recently-held bye-election to Munugode assembly seat.

The Commission also ordered the transfer of the Secretary Transport, Director Prohibition and Excise and Commissioner Commercial Tax in Telangana.

Telangana government has been directed to also appoint a separate Principal Secretary for the Excise and Commercial Tax Department in view of the rigorous work required during the elections. Earlier, Chief Secretary Telangana was holding the additional charge of the department.

From the international borders at Mizoram to the international border at Rajasthan, concerned agencies including BSF and Assam Rifles have also been directed to keep a strict watch. Proximity to "the golden triangle" makes the state of Mizoram vulnerable to trafficking of drugs and arms, the sources said.

They said four districts in Rajasthan namely Jaisalmer, Barmer, Bikaner and Sriganaganagar share international border and are prone to narcotics smuggling.

The Election Commission's thrust on "inducement-free" elections in the last six state assembly elections in Gujarat, HP, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura and Karnataka led to seizures worth more than Rs 1400 crore, a significant over 1000 pc increase from previous elections in these states.

"The Commission has significantly raised the bar for ensuring inducement-free elections and the continuum of stepping up efforts and increase in seizures witnessed during recently held Assembly Elections in five States, would continue in these five polls going states also" CEC Kumar had said announcing the schedule for the elections in these five states.

The Commission also introduced a tech-based platform in these elections for real-time updates on seizures by enforcement agencies.

The sources said that the Integrated Election Seizure Management System would facilitate seamless coordination and intelligence sharing amongst different agencies.

The online availability of data would facilitate in assessing trends, red flagging any specific routes and methods being followed for illicit trafficking of cash, liquor, drugs and freebies, they said.

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