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Jolt to Andhra as HC refuses to intervene in EC order

A division bench headed by Chief Justice C. Praveen Kumar declined to stay the transfer of the police officials


In a setback to the Andhra Pradesh government, the High Court on Friday refused to intervene in the Election Commission's order transferring three police officials including Director General, Intelligence A.B. Venkateswara Rao.

A division bench headed by Chief Justice C. Praveen Kumar declined to stay the transfer of the police officials.

Following the High Court order, Chief Secretary Anil Chandra Punetha issued an order, transferring Venkateswara Rao. He was asked to report to the police headquarters. As per the order, no election duty will be assigned to Rao.

The court, which had reserved its orders on Thursday, ruled that there was no case for interim relief.

The state government had challenged the Election Commission's move transferring intelligence chief Rao, Srikakulam Superintendent of Police Venkata Ratnam and Kadapa Superintendent of Police Rahul Dev Sharma.

Advocate General D. Srinivas told the court that the EC's move was biased as it took a different stance in a similar case in Jharkhand. He said the poll panel took immediate action on a complaint by the opposition YSR Congress Party.

However, appearing for the EC, D. Prakash Reddy submitted to the bench that the decision was taken in a normal course of action to ensure free and fair elections.

The EC had Tuesday ordered 
transfer of three police officials following a complaint by YSRCP that they were working in favour of ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP). The Chief Secretary had issued an order the same day, transferring the officials.

However, the next day he revoked the transfer of DG, Intelligence. He also issued another order, excluding DG, Intelligence, from the list of designated police officers under the Representation of People Act, 1951.

Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu had also written 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 YSR Congress Party leader Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy and abetted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao.

Naidu said that that DG, Intelligence, was not connected with the conduct of election but was responsible for providing security to him, his cabinet colleagues and senior political leaders.