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SAD-BJP wants EC to review its orders
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
“Fear psychosis is haunting the minds of field officers in Punjab that unless they win favours with former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and his party candidates, they would be proceeded against and transferred even without being given a chance to explain their conduct” is the gist of the protest note the joint leadership of the SAD and the BJP submitted to the Chief Electoral Officer here today.

Led by SAD chief Sukhbir Badal and senior BJP leader Balbir Punj, the delegation demanded a review of the orders made by the Commission against the State Home Secretary Sudhir Mittal, Additional Director-General of Police Shashi Kant, Deputy Inspector-General (Border Range) Parampal Singh Sidhu, Amritsar Deputy Commissioner Kahan Singh Pannu, Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Patiala, SK Asthana and a few others.

The delegation held that since Amarinder, his wife Preneet Kaur, and son Raninder Singh, claimed that Election Commissioner Naveen Chawla was known to the family for the past several years, all complaints made to the commission are quickly processed and orders passed without holding even a preliminary inquiry or giving the officer concerned a chance to explain his or her conduct.

The delegation said the Chief Electoral Officer of Punjab Kusumjit Sidhu comes from the same village as of Amarinder.

Home Secretary Sudhir Mittal was transferred for conveying an order of the Council of Ministers taken much earlier. It was about the transfer of a police station from Amritsar to Amritsar Rural. The Home Secretary had even stayed the operation of the order, still he was transferred.

Similarly, the ADGP Law and Order was transferred for allegedly directing CID units in the state in July last year for collecting data to ascertain popular electoral support commanded by political parties at the grass-roots level and also support commanded by antisocial elements and mafia. This had nothing to do with the conduct of the elections and he was no more holding that position. Further, the commission did give the officer any chance to explain his position.

Similarly the DIG (Border Range) was transferred and replaced by an officer whose name did not appear in the panel sent by the state government. Gurpreet Kaur Deo, who is a close relation of Kashmir Singh Patti, former president of the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission and whose proximity to Amarinder has been well known, has been posted there.

The delegation also said though Amritsar DC Kahan Singh Pannu was transferred much before the announcement of the elections, the commission directed him to vacate the official residence within 24 hours. Under the rules he is entitled to retain the house till the end of academic session of his children. Though on representation from the State he was allowed to retain the house till April 1 but was barred from visiting Amritsar.

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