The Election Commission on Saturday transferred West Bengal's Malda district Superintendent of Police (SP) Arnab Ghosh, three days before the Lok Sabha polls in the district.
Ghosh will be replaced by Bengal IPS officer Ajoy Prasad.
Congress leaders who have been accusing the officer of working in favour of the state's ruling Trinamool Congress for a long time welcomed the move.
"We have received information that Ghosh has been transferred. We are very happy. The list of complaints against this officer was getting longer by the day," said Isha Khan Chowdhury, Congress candidate in Malda North seat.
He alleged that during Ghosh's tenure last year, there were rampant irregularities in the panchayat polls. "False police cases were slapped against opposition workers, police forcibly entered the strong rooms and changed the ballot boxes".
The Left also hailed the EC decision.
"It was bound to happen. Not just Malda but many of the district police superintendant offices in Bengal have been turned into district party offices by Trinamool Congress. We expect the new SP to help the EC in conducting free and fair polls," said CPI-M leader Sujan Chakraborty.
However, he also resented the delay in taking the decision. "It should have come at least 20 days back. Now, it may be a bit tough for the new SP to get into the thick of things in two days. So, I hope that this move is not a mere hogwash".
Ruling Trinamool Congress, however, lashed out at the EC and the special police observer in the state Vivek Dube, accusing him of trying to terrorise the state police forces and working in favour of BJP.
"Dube is trying to terrorise the state police force by transferring the officers arbitrarily. He is working under the instruction of BJP leader Mukul Roy," said Trinamool MP Kalyan Banerjee.