Finally, Kolkata police commissioner Rajeev Kumar has been removed by the Election Commission. Soumen Mitra, who is a batch senior to him, has replaced him. Mitra has been thought to be in the running for the top job for many months now. When Kumar became CP, Mitra was made additional director-general, CID to ensure that the new police commissioner became the senior-most IPS officer in Lalbazar.
For the past one month, there have been conflicting reports about Kumar’s removal, which climaxed on March 30, after the state BJP had approached the EC, alleging that Kumar had been snooping on politicians on behalf of the state government. On March 30, a triumphant BJP had announced a press conference at 10:30 pm. But with conflicting reports coming in from officials in the EC and the government – and no formal announcement from either – this press conference was soon cancelled.
On March 29, the BJP had alleged that two persons had approached Rahul Sinha seeking help in smuggling cows across the Indo-Bangladesh border in exchange for money. Sinha had alleged that the incident, coming on the heels of the emergence of sting videos purportedly showing Trinamool leaders accepting bribes from a fictitious company, was an attempt to embroil the BJP in a “counter-conspiracy” with the aid of the police special branch.
In the memorandum against Rajeev Kumar, the BJP alleged, “This clearly appears to be a government-sponsored conspiracy towards a failed sting operation to discredit BJP, their main opposition in the coming election. Apparently this heinous and reckless conspiracy was attempted by the ruling party to divert attention from Narada scam.” An FIR was lodged against the two policemen, ASI Subasis Roy Chowdhury and constable Aminul Rahman, who were released later. The two men were identified as officers of the SB.
The 1989-batch Kumar took over as the top cop in January, replacing Surajit Kar Purkayastha. Kumar, once the target of Mamata Banerjee’s jibes for allegedly snooping on Opposition leaders during the Left Front’s stint in government, is said to have entered the chief minister’s good books when he was the commissioner of Bidhannagar police.