In wake of West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar’s scathing report on “security lapses” that led to the attack on BJP president JP Nadda’s convoy last week, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had reportedly summoned West Bengal Chief secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay and Director General of Police Virendra to the capital on Monday. But media reports say they are unlikely to turn up for the meeting.
This is the second act of defiance by West Bengal in wake of the attack on BJP president JP Nadda’s convoy on December 10. Following the stone pelting on the convoy that was en route to Diamond Harbour, three senior West Bengal cadre police personnel were directed by the MHA to serve in central deputation for alleged dereliction of duty and lapses that led to the attack. However, the WB government is reluctant to release the officers.
The officers are: Bholanath Pandey (SP, Diamond Harbour who is a 2011-batch IPS officer), Praveen Tripathi (DIG, Presidency Range who is a 2004-batch IPS officer) and Rajeev Mishra (ADG, South Bengal who is a 1996-batch IPS officer).
They were summoned on Saturday and the West Bengal government was asked to relieve them. The MHA controls cadres of the Indian Police Service. Ordinarily, the state government is consulted before any change in deputation. However, this time, the MHA’s order was unilateral and allegedly bypassed the state government.
According to Rule 6(1) of Indian Police Service (Cadre) Rules, 1954, “A cadre officer may, with the concurrence of the State Government or the State Governments concerned and the Central Government, be deputed for service under the Central Government or another State Government or under a company, association or body of individuals, whether incorporated or not which is wholly or substantially owned or controlled by the Central Government or by another State Government.”
Also, “Provided that in case of any disagreement, the matter shall be decided by the Central Government and the State Government or State Governments concerned shall give effect to the decision of the Central Government.”
The West Bengal government is reportedly reluctant to release the trio and permit them to serve in central deputation. The Telegraph reported that the WB government wrote to the MHA stating their inability to release the officers as they were doing well in Bengal.
Moreover, the Chief Secretary had written to the MHA seeking exemption from attending the Monday meeting, and the MHA has not responded to that letter so far. WB Governor Jagdeep Dhankar submitted a report on the incident to the Center on Friday.
The incident reportedly took place at the Shirakol crossing located approximately 30 kilometers from Kolkata. The convoy comprised several party heavyweights such as BJP national president JP Nadda, national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, former Mamata Banerjee confidant Mukul Roy and Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh. Kailash Vijayvargiya and Mukul Roy were reportedly injured in the attack. Three FIRs have been filed and seven people have been arrested in connection with the case.
Interestingly, after the attack the West Bengal police had issued a statement saying, “Shri JP Nadda, National President, BJP reached safely at the venue, Diamond Harbour, South 24 Pgs. Nothing happened to his convoy. Few bystanders at Debipur, Falta PS, Diamond Harbour PD, sporadically and suddenly threw stones towards vehicles trailing long behind his convoy.”
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee meanwhile chalked up the entire incident to “nautanki”.