Centre moves to strip police officers of medals for ‘joining’ Mamata dharna

Senior West Bengal police officers, who allegedly participated in the sit-in by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, could get in trouble. The Union home ministry which had asked West Bengal government to take action against the Kumar and other police officers this week, intends to go a step further.

The home ministry is examining if it could strip these officers of their medals and ban them from working at the central government for a few years. The Union home ministry has written to the Mamata Banerjee government asking it to take action against the officer for taking part in the dharna on February 4, news agency ANI reported on Thursday.

“In addition, a number of measures are also being initiated against defaulting officers such as withdrawing medals. The Centre may also remove names of delinquent officers from the empanelled list and bar them for a certain period from serving in the central government,” the news agency said.

Earlier, the MHA, in a letter to the West Bengal chief secretary, said that the officers had violated several provisions of the All India Service Conduct Rules. As per the rules governing the President’s police medal, “The Medal is liable to be forfeited when the holder is guilty of disloyalty, cowardice in action or such conduct as in the opinion of the President brings the force into disrepute.”

The move by the Centre may further escalate the political tussle between Centre and the Mamata Banerjee government of West Bengal. According to a senior official, the Centre cannot compel the state to take action against the officer.

Mamata Banerjee launched her ‘Save the Constitution’ sit-in on Sunday night following a move by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to question Kolkata police commissioner Rajeev Kumar in Saradha chit fund case.

Kumar headed the special investigation team (SIT) that probed the Saradha chit fund case before the Supreme Court transferred it to the CBI. The central agency has alleged that Kumar attempted to destroy evidence related to the case.

Banerjee ended her dharna on Tuesday, the day a Supreme Court order directed Kumar to make himself for questioning in the case at the “neutral” venue of Shillong, Meghalaya. She claimed that the Supreme Court ruling was a “moral victory” for her.

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