Kolkata, Feb 18 (IANS) The West Bengal government Monday admitted that transferring Kolkata's top cop was a "mistake" and urged the Election Commission (EC) to "excuse" it for not seeking permission for the decision.
In a letter to the EC, State Home Secretary Basudeb Banerjee said "it was a lapse on our part" and that "decision of transfer should have been taken with the approval of the Commission".
He also urged the EC that the state government "may be excused" for not seeking prior permission.
In the wake of the shooting dead of a policeman during a clash between college student activists Feb 12, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Thursday had transferred Kolkata Police Commissioner Ranjit Kumar Pachnanda and appointed Additional Director General (Law and Order) Surajit Kar Purakyashtha in his place.The letter was sent following complaints by the CPI-M led Left Front and the Congress to the EC stating that Pachnanda's transfer was a violation of the model code of conduct as by-polls in three assembly constituencies are scheduled Feb 23.
In the letter, Basudeb Banerjee had stated that the intention of the state government was not to bypass the EC and attributed the decision of the transfer to the "communally sensitive Feb 12 incident".
Chief Electoral Officer Sunil Gupta said that the EC had accepted the state government's request for an "ex post facto" transfer of Purakayastha and added that the state government has been "cautioned" for taking such a decision.