Either suspend or transfer Odisha-cadre IAS officer Sujata Karthikeyan, demands BJP

Bhubaneswar: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has urged the Election Commission of India (ECI) to take action against Odisha cadre IAS officer Sujata R. Karthikeyan for ‘unduly interfering in the conduct of elections and inciting violence in the state’.

In a memorandum, the BJP urged the ECI to either Shift Karthikeyan, now serving as the Special Secretary to Finance department, out of Odisha or put her under suspension to ensure free and fair elections in the state.

Karthikeyan had earlier been transferred from the Mission Shakti department to the Finance department following a directive in this regard from the ECI.

Before her transfer, Karthikeyan, a 2000-batch IAS officer, was working as the Commissioner-cum-Secretary to the Mission Shakti department, with additional charge of Commissioner-cum Secretary to Odia Language Literature and Culture department.

The ECI had ordered the transfer of the IAS officer on the basis of a complaint lodged by the BJP ahead of the simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in Odisha.

The BJP had alleged that Sujata R. Karthikeyan, the wife of bureaucrat-turned-politician VK Pandian, was misusing her position as the Commissioner-cum-Secretary to Mission Shakti department to influence voters for the electoral gains of ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in Odisha.

In its fresh complaint before the ECI, the BJP alleged that Karthikeyan has continued to engage herself in ‘electoral malpractice and abuse of government machinery’ even after her transfer from the Mission Shakti department.

“Sujata Karthikeyan has been engaging in electoral malpractices and has played an active role in inciting a wave of electoral violence in Odisha during the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha Elections, 2024. The commission had, in the recent past, found her to be meddling and proactively trying to influence elections and hence had ordered her shifting out to a job not related to public dealing or elections in any manner.Despite Commissions’ instructions, she has continued to engage in electoral malpractice and abuse of machinery, characterized by widespread violence and voter intimidation,” read the BJP memorandum.

The BJP further alleged that Karthikeyan along with Odisha cadre IPS officers—DS Kutey and Ashish Kumar Singh—was flouting the All India Service Conduct Rules and the ECI guidelines for government servants during polls.

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