Defying the Election Commission of India, the Andhra Pradesh government on Wednesday cancelled its earlier order transferring Director General (DG), Intelligence, A B Venkateswara Rao. Within 24 hours of an order transferring three officials including the DG, Intelligence, on the direction of the Election Commission, the state government issued two fresh orders on Wednesday.
Under one of the orders issued by Chief Secretary Anil Chandra Punetha, the transfer order issued on Tuesday night was cancelled. As per the latest order, only Srikakulam Superintendent of Police Venkata Ratnam and Kadapa Superintendent of Police Rahul Dev Sharma were transferred.
The Chief Secretary also issued a separate order to exclude DG, Intelligence and other officials not related to election duty from the purview of the Election Commission.
As per this order, the government has designated police officers under Section 28-A of the Representation of People Act, 1951 for the purpose of law and order and other duties related to the conduct of elections. It lists police personnel from constable to the Director General of Police but excludes DG, Intelligence.
The orders were issued even as Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu shot off a letter to the Election Commission, protesting the manner in which the transfer of three officials was ordered.
He accused the poll panel of bias and termed the transfers, especially of DG, Intelligence, a conspiracy by opposition YSRCP leader Y S Jaganmohan Reddy abetted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao.
Naidu wrote that the DG, Intelligence is not connected with the conduct of election but is responsible for providing security to him, his cabinet colleagues and senior political leaders. His transfer orders at a time during the elections, would affect his poll campaign, the Chief Minister said.
Naidu said the Commission has no jurisdiction to transfer the DG, Intelligence and seek a panel of three names from the government to fill the vacancy.
However, arguing against this, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Gopal Krishna Dwivedi told reporters in Amaravati, â€śHow can elections be conducted without the help of the Intelligence wing? How can there be Police Department without Intelligence wing?â€ť
While the ECI did not mention the reason for the transfer in its order issued on Tuesday night, it was reportedly acting on a complaint filed by YSRCP General Secretary Vijayasai Reddy that the phones of senior party leaders were being tapped by the state government.