The centre today asked three Indian Police Service officers from Bengal to report for central deputation with immediate effect, overriding the state government's objections that they could not be spared. The three officers were on duty at Diamond Harbour on 10 December when the convoy of BJP president JP Nadda came under attack.
The orders that reached the Bengal government today triggered a furious set of three tweets by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. She blasted the centre for ordering the officers out of Bengal, calling it a brazen attempt to control her state by proxy. She said the centre's move was an attempt to encroach upon the state's jurisdiction and demoralise the serving officers.
Coming as it did just before the elections, the move, Ms Banerjee said, was against "the basic tenets of the federal structure. It's unconstitutional and completely unacceptable."
"The government's order of central deputation for the three serving IPS officers of West Bengal despite the state's objection is a colourable exercise of power and blatant misuse of emergency provision of IPS Cadre Rule 1954," the furious Chief Minister tweeted.
"We wouldn't allow this brazen attempt by the centre to control the state machinery by proxy! West Bengal is not going to cow down in front of expansionist and undemocratic forces," she added.
GoI's order of central deputation for the 3 serving IPS officers of West Bengal despite the State's objection is a colourable exercise of power and blatant misuse of emergency provision of IPS Cadre Rule 1954. (1/3)— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) December 17, 2020
The BJP has dismissed Ms Banerjee's outrage. "This is the right of the centre," BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya said, "because all India service holders are appointees of the centre. It has the right to transfer and promote them. If Ms Banerjee doesn't understand, her advisers should read the Constitution and explain to her how it works."
The three Indian Police Service (IPS) officers were asked to report for central deputation just days after an attack on BJP president JP Nadda's convoy near Kolkata on December 10.
Bengal refused to send them, citing shortage of officers, the pandemic and the forthcoming elections. The Union Home Ministry today sent another letter asking the Mamata Banerjee government to relieve the three officers at the earliest.
The Home Ministry had assigned the three officers to central organisations. Bholanath Pandey, the superintendent of police of Diamond Harbour, has been transferred to the Bureau of Police Research for three years, DIG Presidency range Praveen Tripathi has been transferred to the Seema Suraksha Bal or SSB for 5 years and IG South Bengal Rajeev Mishra has been posted as IG, ITBP, for 5 years.
After the convoy attack, the Union Home secretary had asked Bengal's Chief Secretary and Director General of Police (DGP) to come to New Delhi for a meeting on law-and-order situation in the state. The Bengal government said the convoy attack was being investigated and the officers would not attend the meeting.