The controversy over three senior police officers deployed in security during the alleged attack on BJP national president JP Nadda during his visit to Bengal on December 10 is intensifying. Despite being senior officials, the attack on their convoy has raised questions over the Bengal government. The Home Ministry has asked the three officials to be sent to Delhi on deputation immediately. CM Mamata Banerjee and the Center are cool about this.
IPS officers present during the attack were Rajiv Mishra IG (South Bengal), Praveen Kumar Tripathi DIG (Presidency Range) and Bholanath Pandey SP Diamond Harbor, guarding the convoy of JP Nadda. BJP state president Dilip Ghosh has alleged that the three officials are close to the TMC. “Even before, her role seemed dubious. The Mamata Banerjee government is being run by the police,” he said.
Trinamool Congress MP Kalyan Banerjee, in a letter sent to Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla on December 12, said the order was meant to give “pressure and terrorism” to “IPS and IAS officers” in West Bengal. “Your intention is clear that you want to call and force them.”
Among the accused APS officers, Rajiv Mishra is said to be very close to Mamata Banerjee. BJP’s IT cell has tweeted an old video. In it, Mishra is seen touching Mamata Banerjee’s feet during an informal conversation between the Chief Minister and some senior IPS officers in East Midnapore in August 2019. The video footage shows the chief minister feeding the cake to some officials sitting on a brick wall, including the then security director Vineet Goyal and Mishra. This viral video caused a lot of confusion to the West Bengal police.
Praveen Tripathi, DIG, is a 2004 batch IPS officer of Presidency Range, West Bengal cadre. Tripathi has held some important positions in Mamata Banerjee’s 10-year rule. He was the SP of West Midnapore district when the ‘Swachhta Abhiyan’ was launched against the Maoists, and is credited with the 2011 assassination of military chief Kishanji. No incident of Maoist violence has taken place in the area since then.
Tripathi was later posted as Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) in Kolkata under the chairmanship of former CP Rajiv Kumar. In bureaucratic and political circles, Tripathi is seen as “close” to the commissioner and the government, with some IPS officials saying he was also close to the chief minister.
He was replaced as Joint CP after the 2019 general election, and in January 2020 was placed as DIG of the Presidency Range, which includes Mamata’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee’s constituency of Diamond Harbor.
The third officer, Bholanath Pandey, is a 2011 batch IPS officer of the West Bengal cadre and has been posted as SP in Diamond Harbor district. In February 2017, Diamond Harbor was separated from the South 24 County Police District. According to sources, Pandey was in charge of the district during the 2018 panchayat elections and the 2019 general elections. There was a lot of political violence at that time. It is alleged that the BJP leaders were deliberately harassed.
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