Cop killing fallout: Police commissioner replaced

Kolkata, Feb 14: Two days after a policeman was shot dead during a clash between college student activists in the city, the West Bengal government Thursday shifted out Kolkata Commissioner of Kolkata police Ranjit Kumar Pachnanda and appointed Surajit Kar Purakayastha in his place.

Pachnanda has been made the additional director general (ADG) security in place of Virendra., who will hold the post of ADG (Administration). ADG (Intelligence Bureau) Bani Brata Basu, will replace Kar Purakayastha as ADG (Law and Order) and G.M.P Reddy will take Basu’s post.

In addition, Kolkata Police’s additional commissioner Somen Mitra has been made Inspector General (Law and Order).

Referring to the transfers, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said: “I had to take such a strong action because the criminals were not arrested in time. If they were in the other side of the world, even then they should have been arrested.”

“Those who are criminals they are wrongdoers and they cannot be of any party. Why they were not arrested, I shall have to see,” she said.

Tapas Chowdhury, a sub-inspector attached to the special branch, was shot from close range while trying to control the clashing students Tuesday. Twelve people have been taken into custody in connection with his killing.

Pachnanda, a 1983 batch IPS officer, took over as the city police commissioner March 18, 2011.

His transfer comes at a time when the Banerjee government has been facing lot of criticism over the incident, especially for the alleged shielding of a Trinamool councillor by her party men.

The councillor Mohammad Iqbal has been named in the first information report although he is yet to be arrested.

Iqbal has been charged with rioting, attempt to murder and certain sections of the Arms Act. He was seen at the spot of the incident, threatening a policeman and mobilising his supporters.

Video footage aired by television channels showed Iqbal standing beside Sheikh Shubhaan, the man who was caught on TV firing the bullet that allegedly killed the policeman.

State Urban Development Minister and Trinamool leader Firhad Hakim defended Iqbal saying he did not believe Iqbal was “involved in the incident”.

His comments attracted severe criticism from the opposition especially the Communist Party of India-Marxist led Left Front which even accused Hakim of being “involved” in the incident.

Governor M.K. Narayanan too expressed his reservation over Hakim “shielding” Iqbal.

IANS