Election Commission rejects government’s list of three names for plum post

The State government and the Election Commission appear to be on a confrontation course over the appointment of a new Commissioner for the Bangalore City Police.

After the EC directed the government to transfer B.G. Jyothi Prakash Mirji to “ensure free and fair polls” to the Assembly scheduled for May 5, a panel of senior IPS officials — Bipin Gopala Krishna, Kishore Chandra and M.N. Reddy — was proposed for the post of the city police chief.

But, in a major embarrassment to the government, the EC has reportedly rejected these names and instead directed that Raghavendra H. Auradkar, Principal Secretary, Home Department (Prisons, Crime and Auxiliary Services) replace Mr. Mirji.

All the three IPS officers, whose names were turned down by the EC, are senior to Mr. Auradkar.

Mr. Auradkar, who hails from Bidar, has an M.Tech. degree and a diploma in cyber laws.

He served as the Superintendent of Police in various districts and as the Commissioner of Police in Hubli-Dharwad.

It has now emerged that the EC had earlier recommended Mr. Auradkar but the government decided against including him in the panel of names submitted to the commission. The commission’s rejection of names reportedly came as a fax message to Chief Secretary S.V. Ranganath reiterating its earlier stance that Mr. Auradkar be made police chief, sources in the Home Department said.

Chief Electoral Officer Anil Kumar Jha said the EC would take a final decision on administrative matters, including Mr. Mirji’s transfer.

Mandatory

Officials said the government is mandated to obey the EC’s directives during the enforcement of model code of conduct, which kicked in on March 20.

Meanwhile, the government, which effected transfers of six IPS officers Wednesday night, is digging in its heels over Mr. Auradkar despite the EC directive.

Though speculation has been rife for the past two days over Mr. Mirji’s transfer, the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms had not issued the transfer order till late Thursday evening.

Meanwhile senior IPS officials are believed to have begun lobbying for the post. Sources said they have already contacted Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, who is on election tour.