Vijayawada : State Election Commissioner (SEC) Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar ordered immediate removal of Guntur district collector I Samuel Anand Kumar and Chittoor district collector Bharath Gupta.Kumar has asked the officers to hand over the charge to the Joint Collectors respectively.
The SEC also directed that Superintendent of Police (Tirupati Urban) Avula Ramesh Reddy to handover the charge to the Chittoor police chief. He also removed two DSPs and four circle inspectors from the poll duties.
The SEC asked chief secretary Adityanath Das to submit a panel of three names for appointment of the successors to the officials, who were removed from election duties.
The SEC had in fact asked the state government to remove all the four officers just before the abrupt adjournment of the elections to ZPTCs and MPTCs in March 2020. The SEC had suddenly put-off the elections citing the Covid-19 outbreak in the middle of the process. As the poll process was put on hold, the government did not follow the SEC orders.
With the AP High Court clearing the decks for the conduct of the elections to Gram Panchayats, the SEC cracked the whip and asked three all-India service officers to relinquish their duties. "In the face of continued intransigence and the opposition of the state government, the commission has no other option but to invoke the powers vested in the commission under Article 243(K) and Article 324 to remove the tainted officers," he said.
Chief secretary Adityanath Das wrote to state election commissioner Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar, asking him to wait for the Supreme Court's decision on holding panchayat elections in the state.
He further requested for a "revised schedule which would be in compliance with the high court order that the "parties will make all efforts to ensure that both programmes (vaccination and elections) are conducted smoothly and successfully".