The Election Commission on Tuesday ordered the transfer of West Bengal Director General of Police Virendra, and appointed P Nirajnayan, an Indian Police Service officer to the position, reported PTI.

In a directive to the state chief secretary, the poll body said Virendra “should not be given any post which directly or indirectly relates to [the] conduct of election.” The Election Commission said that the order should be complied by 10 am on Wednesday.

Unidentified officials said that the decision was taken after several political parties complained to the Election Commission, alleging that Virendra was inclined towards the ruling Trinamool Congress.

Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora had said last month that the election body would send two observers to keep an eye on police operations and a third one if needed further, reported NDTV.

On February 6, the West Bengal government had transferred 24 senior IPS officers, according to The Hindu. Jawed Shamim was appointed as the additional director general (Law and Order).

However, on February 27, a day after the Election Commission announced the schedule of the Assembly polls, the Election Commission made Shamim the head of the fire services department, while Jag Mohan, who was director general (fire services), replaced him. “Both are very good officers but we sense a political motive could be behind the move,” Trinamool MP Saugata Roy had said, reacting to the reshuffle.

Elections will be held in eight phases in West Bengal – March 27, April 1, April 6, April 10, April 17, April 22, April 26 and April 29. The results will be declared on May 2.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Supreme Court dismissed a plea that sought directions to the Election Commission to stop it from holding the Assembly elections in West Bengal in an “unequal manner” in eight phases. The plea, filed by Advocate ML Sharma, also sought directions to the Central Bureau of Investigation to investigate the use of “Jai Shri Ram” as a slogan in election campaigns.

A three-judge bench of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, however, dismissed the plea and asked him to approach a High Court or the Election Commission.

Also read:

SC dismisses plea challenging eight-phase elections in West Bengal, use of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogan