Nadda convoy assault: MHA bypasses Bengal govt, calls three IPS officers on central deputation

New Delhi, December 12

Days after an attack on the convoy of BJP chief J P Nadda, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued unilateral summons to three IPS officers of West Bengal to serve in central deputation for alleged dereliction of duties, officials said.

The three officers—Bholanath Pandey (SP, Diamond Harbour), Praveen Tripathi (DIG, Presidency Range) and Rajeev Mishra (ADG, South Bengal) — were responsible for the security of the BJP chief during his December 9-10 visit to the politically volatile state.

The move is likely to further escalate the ongoing tussle between the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government in West Bengal and the BJP-led central government following the attack on the convoy of Nadda two days ago.

Three Indian Police Service officers belonging to the West Bengal cadre have been called to serve in central deputation in view of the lapses that allegedly led to the attack on Nadda’s convoy, an MHA official said.

The decision has been taken under the rules governing the all India service officers, the official said.

Usually, the state government’s consent is taken before any all India service officer is called to serve in central deputation.

But in this case, the MHA has unilaterally taken the decision, bypassing the state government.

The three officers are perceived to be close to the present dispensation in West Bengal.

On Friday, the MHA had summoned West Bengal’s chief secretary and police chief on December 14 for an explanation on the law and order situation in the state.

However, the state government refused to acknowledge the summon.

The chief secretary wrote to the Union home secretary, saying that he has been directed to request to “dispense with the presence of the state officials” in the meeting convened on December 14.

The two top civil and police officers were called by the MHA after Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar sent a report on the attack on Nadda’s convoy on Thursday with stones and bricks at Diamond Harbour, the Lok Sabha constituency of the chief minister’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee.

Dhankhar had also alleged at a press conference in Kolkata that violators of law in Bengal have the protection of police and administration and any resistance by the opposition is quelled.

The West Bengal government also has not sent a report on the “serious security lapses” during Nadda’s visit to the state, as sought by the MHA.

The chief minister had mockingly distorted Nadda’s name at a rally in Kolkata on Thursday and termed the attack on his convoy a “staged act”.

Cars of several party leaders, including that of BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya and West Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh which were part of the convoy, were damaged in the attack.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah had said that “Bengal has descended into an era of tyranny, anarchy and darkness under the Trinamool rule… The manner in which political violence has been institutionalised and brought to the extreme in West Bengal under TMC rule is sad and worrying”. PTI

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