Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The Election Commission has ordered the Bihar Chief Secretary to immediately suspend Darbhanga Sadar Sub-Divisional officer Rameshwar Bhagat and initiate disciplinary proceedings against him for allowing Union Minister of State for Home Shakeel Ahmed to address a public meeting on the premises of Khirma High School, Keoti, inconveniencing students appearing for a practical examination on Saturday.

The full commission, which took “serious note of the incident,” also sought the transfer of Darbhanga DM-cum-District Election Officer Arun Prasad, IAS, and district police Superintendent P.K. Darad to posts unconnected with elections.

The Bihar government was asked to seek explanations from five officers — Darbhanga Deputy Development Commissioner Jitendra Prasad, Keoti Block Development Officer Ravindra Nath, Keoti police station officer in charge Md. Sanaullah, National Rural Employment Programme (Keoti) junior engineer Satya Narayan Pandit and the Khirma school principal in charge Shiv Shankar Mandal.

The Chief Secretary has been asked to forward to the Commission, in consultation with the State Chief Electoral Officer, a panel of three names each for selection of officers to replace the suspended SDO and the transferred district magistrate and SP. The charge-sheet/explanation memo to the officers facing action should be prepared in consultation with the State CEO, the Commission directed.