15 Mar 2021: EC suspends senior cops over Nandigram incident, involving Mamata Banerjee
The Election Commission on Sunday suspended IPS Vivek Sahay from the post of Director Security after he failed to provide security to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Nandigram last week.
The polling body has also suspended Purba Medinipur's Superintendent of Police Pravin Prakash and removed District Magistrate Vibhu Goel.
However, EC maintained that the Nandigram incident was an accident and not an attack.
Background: What happened last week?
Banerjee, who is fighting the upcoming Assembly polls from the high-profile Nandigram seat, had filed her nomination papers on Wednesday. Thereafter, she visited a local temple.
The EC sought a report from West Bengal Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay and others.
EC's findings: No pointers to indicate attack was premeditated, said EC
The inputs from Bandyopadhyay, Special Police Observer Vivek Dube, and General Observer Ajay Nayak were assessed by Election Commissioners Sushil Chandra and Rajiv Kumar.
They concluded that there weren't any "significant pointers to suggest that there was any premeditated or planned attack."
EC's permission hadn't been sought for the campaign at Birulia Bazaar, Gholpukhuria (where the incident happened), hence, there is no video evidence, the commissioners claimed.
Details: EC added 'complete disregard' for security protocol led to incident
However, the apex polling body admitted to security lapses. EC said the "lack of coordination between security arrangements made by the SP, DM, and the Police Headquarters" as well as "complete disregard" for security protocol led to the incident.
Banerjee has been awarded Z-plus security and has to travel in a bullet-proof car. EC claimed the security in-charge was sitting in the car instead.
Order: Charges against Sahay to be framed within one week
About Sahay, EC said, "The charges must be framed against him within a week for grossly failing in the discharge of his primary duty as Director Security to protect the Z+ protectee."
"Pravin Prakash, SP Purba Medinipur shall also be placed under suspension immediately and charges shall be framed against him for a major failure of bandobast," the statement added.
Directive: Smita Pandey was appointed as DM of Purba Medinipur
Goel was transferred to a non-election post and Smita Pandey was appointed as DM and DEO. Sunil Kumar Yadav became the SP of Purba Medinipur.
"A committee of Chief Secretary and DGP shall identify within next three days the other proximate security personnel below director security, who failed in their duties to prevent the incident and protect the Z+ protectee VVIP and take suitable action," EC added.
Fact: EC wants a report by March 31
"Chief Secretary shall ensure that the investigation of the Nandigram case is completed and consequential action is taken as per law in the next 15 days. A report in this regard shall be sent to the Commission by 31st March 2021," EC directed.