Rajeev Kumar in a file photo.
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Kolkata: Election Commission of India (ECI) has taken strong exception of Kolkata Police commissioner Rajeev Kumar not turning up for a meeting yesterday (31 January) with the poll panel, which was in Kolkata to oversee preparations for the coming Lok Sabha polls.

Chief Election Commissioner, Sunil Arora, told a news conference today that the ECI has sought an explanation for this from the state home secretary to whom Kumar reports.

“The DGP, chief secretary, home secretary all were present in the meeting. But Kolkata Police was represented by a special commissioner instead of the commissioner. When we enquired, the special commissioner told us that he has no knowledge as to why the commissioner didn’t turn up.”

“We have been told that Kolkata Police commissioner reports independently to the home secretary and he is the controlling officer. Hence, we have sought an explanation from the controlling officer,” Arora said.

The CEC didn’t elaborate as to by when the home secretary has to send the explanation, sources said that the deadline is Monday, 4 February.

“Given that the CEC has himself told the Press about seeking explanation, it indicates that the poll panel is seeing Kumar’s gesture as an affront. He might be up for some punitive steps as the control of the administration and police comes under ECI’s purview six months ahead of polls,” said a source.

Kumar, 53, is a 1983 batch IPS officer. He became Kolkata Police commissioner in February 2016 but was removed by ECI in April for alleged bias towards ruling Trinamool during the state Assembly polls.

Soon after the election got over, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee made him the police commissioner again in May.