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Who is Bengal DGP Rajeev Kumar For Whom Mamata Banerjee Sat on a Dharna Once? – News18

Rajeev Kumar, the acting Director General of Police of West Bengal, is the first IPS officer to have been transferred out ahead of Lok Sabha elections 2024.

The Election Commission on Monday ordered the removal of the home secretaries of Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, and directed the shunting out of Rajeev Kumar as the West Bengal police chief.

The poll panel usually takes such action during parliamentary and Assembly elections when an issue of conflict of interest or the possibility of such officials disturbing a level-playing field arises. The EC directs states to transfer officers connected with election related work, who have completed three years or are in their home districts. If such officers are not transferred by the states, the EC orders their removal.

In a letter dated March 18, the Election Commission directed West Bengal Chief Secretary BP Gopalika to shift Rajeev Kumar to a “non-election related post with immediate affect”.

This is not the first time such orders have been issued against Kumar. In 2016, he was the Commissioner of Kolkata Police when he was relieved of his position before the West Bengal Assembly elections. In 2019, Kumar was ADG in West Bengal CID when he was removed before the general elections.

Sources in the Election Commission said there have been “complaints galore” against Kumar.

Rajeev Kumar was appointed as the DGP by the Bengal government arbitrarily as his name was not sent to the UPSC-led panel for approval, said a senior official in the Ministry of Home Affairs. “The officer in question has been under investigation for long in connection with the chit fund scam case. The allegation against him included his alleged complicity in the crime and alleged involvement in tampering evidence that the CBI is still probing. Even though the central agency has moved on from that and he has not been summoned recently, the case file is still open,” the official said.

Recently, Rajeev Kumar’s role as the DGP came under question in connection with the Sandeshkhali case in which women were allegedly sexually assaulted. The Opposition cried hoarse against the alleged “inaction”.

Controversy’s Favourite Child

Rajeev Kumar, an IPS officer of 1989 batch, has been controversy’s favourite child since 2013-14 when he has made the chief of a special investigation team (SIT) by the Mamata Banerjee government to probe complaints related to the chit fund companies. The IIT graduate has been known as one of most technically sound officers in the cadre.

In 2019, the conflict between central agencies CBI and ED and the state police, especially the Kolkata Police, reached a climax when the CBI raided Kumar’s residence after summoning him several times. He was the CP of Kolkata at the time.

In an unprecedented move, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had sat on a dharna in central Kolkata for three days protesting against the actions of the CBI. Rajeev Kumar, along with other senior officers, also visited the chief minister during the dharna.

Kumar had once towered above the landscape of West Bengal and its capital Kolkata as the high-profile police commissioner of the city. He had been the blue-eyed boy of former chief minister of Bengal Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and has occupied a similar space during Mamata Banerjee tenure as well.

Rajeev Kumar, who was leading the Special Task Force in Kolkata Police in 2011, is also credited for his contribution in tracking down senior Maoist militia leader Kishenji, who was killed in an encounter in November, 2011. A few months later, Kumar was posted as CP, Bidhan Nagar (Salt Lake), known as a prestigious position in Bengal police.

In 2013-14, he was made the head of Special Investigation Team of West Bengal formed to probe the chit fund scam and the allegations of depositors. Under Rajeev Kumar’s watch, the SIT picked up Sudipto Sen, the managing director of Saradha group of companies, and Kunal Ghosh, who was then Rajya Sabha MP from the Trinamool Congress.

Later, he moved to Kolkata Police as the CP. During the course of the investigation, Kunal Ghosh mentioned Kumar’s name multiple times and levelled several allegations against the officer. He was later posted as ADG, CID in 2019, and in 2020, he was posted as the principal secretary, IT. The latter is a cadre post reserved for IAS officers only. However, Mamata Banerjee’s government made an exception for him.

Since 2019, Kumar has been a shadow of his former self, shuttling between the Supreme Court and the Calcutta High Court, filing petitions seeking extension of legal protection from probable arrest and getting CBI notices to him quashed.

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