Special Correspondent

Commission says it has transfer powers

Names for other posts today

New Delhi: K.R. Kaushik on Thursday assumed office as the new Director-General of Police (DGP) of Gujarat following the Election Commission’s directive to the State government.

The Commission on Monday ordered the transfer of DGP P.C. Pandey, five other senior police officers, including Ahmedabad Police Commissioner J. Mahapatra, and two Collectors, who held key positions during the post-Godhra communal riots in 2002, and directed that none of them be given any poll-related work.

Sources in the Commission said the State, instead of sending a panel of names of three suitable officers for each of these posts, as directed, wrote to the Commission on Tuesday seeking clarifications, including the reasons for the transfers.

The government maintained that these officers had no vigilance enquiry against them and that they did not come within the ambit of the Commission’s guidelines.

But the Commission reiterated that it had the powers under Article 324 of the Constitution (superintendence, directions and control of elections) to transfer any official and it was the duty of the government to comply with the directions, the sources said.

On Wednesday, the government sent the list of officers for each of the posts. On Thursday, the Commission chose Mr. Kaushik for the DGP post. The names for appointment to the other posts would be sent on Friday, the sources said.

Manas Dasgupta reports from Gandhinagar:

Mr. Kaushik, a 1972 batch Indian Police Service officer, was among the three officers of the DGP rank in the State. Mr. Pandey and Ahmedabad Police Commissioner J. Mahapatra are the other two.

Mr. Kaushik succeeded Mr. Pandey as the Ahmedabad Commissioner in May, 2002, even as communal riots were raging in some parts of the State.

Gill’s recommendation

His appointment was then recommended by “top cop” K. P. S. Gill, when he had come for a short stint as security advisor to Chief Minister Naredra Modi to control the riots. Mr. Kaushik remained the Commissioner till he was shifted to the Anti-Corruption Bureau earlier this year.

Sources in the government said that the replacements for the other seven officials had not yet been finalised by the Election Commission.

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