Monday, March 16, 2009

Holi courtesy call lands Bihar police chief in trouble

Patna (IANS): Bihar police chief D.N. Gautam and Additional Director General (headquarters) Neelmani may face action for flouting the pre-election model code of conduct by visiting Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's official residence on Holi last week, official sources said on Monday.

"The Election Commission is likely to take action against them," a source in the Election Commission office here said.

The poll panel has taken serious note of the visit the two senior police officials paid to the residence of the chief minister, and has though a notice to the state home department sought details, as it was a violation of the model code of conduct, the official said.

Sources at the police headquarters said Mr. Gautam and Mr. Neelmani, in their reply to the notice, cited official work as the reason for their visit.

Though both top police officials said they had gone to apprise the chief minister of the gruesome killing of three people in a village in Saran district, officials in the chief minister's residence said Mr. Gautam and Mr. Neelman did so to offer their greetings to the chief minister on the occasion of Holi.

"It was neither an official meeting called by chief minister nor was their any urgency to inform about the matter to him personally," an official said.

What raised questions was that both police officials visited the chief minister though Mr. Nitish Kumar had announced he would not celebrate Holi in view of the Kosi river floods that devastated the state last year.

In 2005 during state assembly elections, the Inspector General and Deputy Inspector General of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) had landed themselves in trouble following their visit to Railway Minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad. The poll panel had removed both the officials from election duty.

Source : The Hindu