Oct 19: Taking tough stand the Gujarat state Election Commission in its process of the removal and appointment of some top cops directed the state government to appoint senior IAS officer Mamta Varma as the new collector of the Gandhinagar state replacing Sonal Mishra.
The Election Commission in its attempt to ensure a free and fair election in the state directed the state authority to remove as many as seven officers who are considered as close to Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Earlier on Thursday, the EC ordered to remove Ahmedabad Police Commissioner PC Pande and appointed KR Kaushik as the new police chief. Pande was in the post of police commissioner during the 2002 post-Godhra communal riot. The commission has also maintained its stand that none of the officers would be assigned any power related to election in any of the constituency during the election.
After the decission of EC, the state government had sent a list of probable officers to replace the transferred officials but the commission has so far has cleared the name of KR Kaushik.
Since the announcement of a two-phase assembly poll on December 11 and 16, the state Election Commissioner N Gopalaswamy is in close vigil of the recent political development and trying to place all on the right to ensure a free and fair election.
The opposition Congress in the state has welcomed this stand of EC in removing top cops. A week back the party has demanded a stringent action and asked EC to ensure that no state machinery is going to be used by the Modi government.
Meanwhile, as per the report the state government has seek for an explanation from the EC regarding the transfer of police officers and asserted that the commission has no right to transfer any administrative official. Again the Modi government did claim that there was no vigilance inquiry against the officers transferred.
However, EC in reply made it clear that these transfers are done in larger public interest and there is nothing unconstitutional as it is in the duty of the commission to ensure a fair election and also an obligation of the state to provide all necessities asked by the commission.