ECI orders suspension of Odisha CM’s special secretary

Inspector General (Police), in charge of Odisha CM’s security, has been directed to present himself for medical examinations

Updated - May 29, 2024 08:26 am IST

Published - May 28, 2024 10:37 pm IST - BHUBANESWAR

D.S. Kutey, Special Secretary to Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. File

D.S. Kutey, Special Secretary to Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. File | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The Election Commission of India has placed D.S. Kutey, Special Secretary to Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, under suspension, and directed Ashish Kumar Singh, Inspector General of Police (CM Security) to undergo medical examination on charges of influencing simultaneous elections in Odisha.

The two senior IPS officers were among few key bureaucrats overseeing official operation of Odisha CM. The decision has been taken on basis of information forwarded by Chief Electoral Officer, Odisha who indicated that two officers were directly exerting ‘undue’ influence on conduct of election work.

Also read:India General elections 2024 LIVE - May 29

“This was further corroborated by various other inputs received from the field from time to time,” the ECI said in its order.

“Mr. Kutey should be placed under suspension under relevant service rules for unduly interfering in conduct of election. His headquarter is fixed at the Office of Resident Commissioner Odisha, New Delhi where he will report by 3 p.m. on May 29, 2024,” the ECI order says.

“Moreover, CEO, Odisha will provide to the Chief Secretary of Odisha draft of charge sheet to be issued to Mr. Kutey. Chief Secretary of Odisha shall arrange to issue charge sheet by competent authority under relevant service rules, not later than by 5 p.m. of May 30, 2024,” the order copy says.

Shifting of Mr. Kutey is seen as significant step as Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party alleged he was directly involved in election management for Biju Janata Dal.

Mr. Singh, being on medical leave since May 4, 2024, should present himself for detailed medical examination by a special medical board constituted by Director AIIMS, Bhubaneshwar, not later than May 30, 2024, says the ECI order.

According to order, the CEO, Odisha would coordinate to ensure that Director AIIMS Bhubaneshwar constitutes special medical board to ascertain illness and treatment being undergone. “Report on this shall reach the commission latest by May 31, 2024,” it said.

Besides, the ECI has ordered expeditious investigation Prashant Jagdev, MLA Chilika and the BJP’s candidate for Khordha Assembly constituency for damaging EVM in a polling booth.

The ECI said the decision were taken to curb undue influence on the election machinery and maintain the level playing field and fairness in the electoral process.

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