Jammu and Kashmir government Tuesday evening removed deputy commissioner Kathua Rohit Khajuria on directions of the election commission (EC) after complaints that “he had proximity with a political party and a political leader.”
This is the first action of its kind after the imposition of the model code of conduct (MCC) for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in the state. The general administration department issued formal orders to remove Khajuria and replace him by Vikas Kundal, an IAS officer of 2013 batch.
The DC Kathua happens to be the returning officer for the Kathua-Udhampur parliamentary segment which is going to polls in the second phase of Genera Elections on April 18.
Sources said modification of Khajuria’s transfer order, days before the imposition of the model code of conduct, prompted the poll-body to shift him from the district. “There were complaints that he has proximity with a political party and a political leader,” they said.
On February 19, Khajuria, the then DC Kathua, was transferred as the Udhampur deputy commissioner. But within next six days, the government modified the order and retained him as DC Kathua. The modification of transfer order raised many eyebrows.
Nobody in the state government or the EC was willing to come on record over the reasons that led to Khajuria’s transfer.
The MCC is a set of guidelines issued by the EC to regulate political parties and candidates prior to elections, to ensure free and fair elections. The MCC is operational from the date that the election schedule is announced till the date the results are declared.