MHA asks Bengal to relieve 3 IPS officers immediately

MHA asks West Bengal to relieve 3 IPS officers immediately; Mamata calls it brazen attempt to control state before polls

The MHA said the Centre prevails over a state government in case of any dispute on the deployment of IPS officers as per rules

Mamata Banerjee file photo. Credit: PTI Photo

The tussle between the Centre and West Bengal intensified on Thursday with the Ministry of Home Affairs sending a fresh letter to the state government asking to immediately relieve three IPS officers whom it had unilaterally summoned for central deputation.

The MHA said the Centre prevails over a state government in case of any dispute on the deployment of IPS officers as per rules, while officials warned the IPS officers that they may face action if they do not report for duty at their respective positions.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee hit back at the Centre saying they "would not 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 & undemocratic forces".

The three officers -- Bholanath Pandey, Praveen Tripathi and Rajeev Mishra who were in charge of BJP president JP Nadda's security during his recent visit -- were summoned for central deputation on charges of alleged dereliction of duties after the leader's convoy was attacked in Diamond Harbour.

Pandey has been posted as Superintendent of Police in BPRD, while Tripathi has been appointed as Deputy Inspector General in SSB and Mishra in ITBP as Inspector General. While Pandey's deputation is for four years, the others have a five-year deputation in Centre.

In the letter, the MHA said the West Bengal government has failed to adhere to rules and cited Section 6 (1) of IPS officers - “in case of any disagreement, the Centre government’s decision shall prevail”.

Mamata tweeted, "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. This act is nothing but a deliberate attempt to encroach upon the state's jurisdiction and demoralise the serving officers in West Bengal. This move, particularly before the election, is against the basic tenets of the federal structure. It is unconstitutional and completely unacceptable!"

The state government had on December 12 conveyed to the MHA that it would not be able to spare the three IPS officers.

On December 14, the West Bengal Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay and Director General of Police Virendra did not appear before the MHA for an explanation on the law-and-order situation in the state.