KOLKATA: Soumen Mitra took over as the new Police Commissioner of Kolkata today after Rajeev Kumar was removed from the post by the Election Commission following complaints against him by opposition parties in poll-bound West Bengal.
Soon after assuming the chair at Lalbazar Police Headquarters here, Mitra, an IPS officer of the 1988 batch, said, "It's a difficult situation. We are going to conduct the elections in the city peacefully.
"I am very confident of my team of officers of Kolkata Police. There is a huge force of the Kolkata Police who are very professional. I am sure with the help of my force, we will be able to conduct the elections peacefully," he said.
The top cop said with the elections to be held in the city within another couple of weeks, his taking over as the city Police Commissioner was a "challenging" task.
"There is not much time left for the elections in the city. In that way it's definitely a challenge for me," Mitra said.
He further emphasised that his appointment as the police chief was made by the state government.
"I have been appointed by the state government. As a civil servant, as a bureaucrat, postings do happen suddenly and my posting as the Commissioner also took place in a similar manner," Mitra, who was earlier working as ADG, CID in the state police, said.
Handing over the charge to Mitra, Rajeev Kumar, an IPS officer of the 1989 batch, rushed to his new office to take over as ADG, Anti-Corruption Branch in the state police.
Kumar was appointed as Kolkata Police Commissioner in January this year. With this change, Ram Phal Pawar (an IPS officer of the 1988 batch), who was holding the post of ADG, Anti-Corruption Branch in West Bengal, would now take over as ADG, CID in the state police.
A notification from the Home department today said the transfers were made with immediate effect and until further orders.
The BJP and Congress had recently moved the EC seeking removal of Kumar alleging that he was close to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and accused him of "snooping" on opposition leaders, bureaucrats and journalists.
The BJP had complained to the EC after an alleged failed sting operation against the party's national secretary and former state president Rahul Sinha late last month. Two Kolkata Police personnel had allegedly tried to bribe Sinha in return for help to smuggle out cows to Bangladesh.
Sinha had alleged that it was a conspiracy by the TMC government to trap BJP leaders before the Assembly polls and demanded a CBI probe into the incident.