M A I N   N E W S

EC transfers Chennai Police Commissioner
Arup Chanda
Tribune News Service

Chennai, March 16
It is now a case of sheer embarrassment for the Tamil Nadu Government as the Election Commission ordered that it shift the most prestigious police officer of the state, the Chennai City Police Commissioner R. Nataraj for violating the "model code of conduct".

Mr Nataraj on the International Women's Day during an interview with a local daily, said Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa was an "ideal woman".

The Dravida Munnetra Kazhgam (DMK) did not lose time and its Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests A. Raja promptly lodged a complaint with the Election Commission.

In his complaint he sated that a police officer could not be relied upon for a "free and fair election" as the greater Chennai area comprised at least 20 Assembly constituencies.

According to the state government sources here, the Election Commission after receiving the complaint immediately asked Mr Nataraj to be removed.

"This is ample evidence to prove how impartial the Election Commission is and who dictates it," they said.

The Election Commission in its letter stated that all officials involved in May 8 elections, be it administrative or security, would come under its scanner as far as the model code of conduct was concerned.

The commission also stated that even if there was minimum doubt about the integrity of an officer that he was "biased or tilted" which could directly or indirectly influence the elections, it would order a removal.

The sources said, "The election dates were announced on March 1 and many of the government orders passed that day were stayed since the model code of conduct came into effect.

This has been considerably affecting our work. Even routine transfers of officers need to be cleared by the Election Commission."

They said the Tamil Nadu Government might seek a review of the Election Commission's order regarding removal of Mr R. Nataraj.

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