A senior police officer of the Haryana cadre, deputed as the Police Observer for the Chidambaram (Reserved) Parliamentary constituency, caused a flutter when he fired in the air in the early hours of Sunday. Later in the day, the Election Commission removed him of poll duty. Ariyalur falls under the Chidambaram constituency.
According to police sources, Hemant Kalson, an officer in the rank of Inspector General who had reported for duty in Ariyalur on Friday, came out of the Circuit House, where he was staying, at 1 a.m. and demanded the gun in the possession of Armed Reserve constable Manibalan.
The constable, who was posted for security, obliged Mr. Kalson. The officer suddenly fired nine rounds in the air and handed over the INSAS rifle to Mr. Manibalan.
The officer was said to have been under the influence of alcohol.
On being informed by Mr. Manibalan, M. Vijayalakshmi, District Election Officer, who is also the Returning Officer of the Chidambaram constituency, and V.R. Srinivasan, Superintendent of Police, conducted an inquiry. When he was questioned, Mr. Kalson claimed that he had opened fire to check if the gun was in working condition.
The DEO then sent a preliminary report to Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo.
Within hours, the Election Commission issued an order relieving Mr. Kalson of poll duty with immediate effect. He later took a flight from Tiruchi.
Based on a complaint by Mr. Manibalan, the Ariyalur police booked a case against Mr. Kalson under Section 336 (negligent action to endanger human life) of the Indian Penal Code.
When asked whether the IPS officer was inebriated when the incident took place, a senior police officer told The Hindu that an investigation was on. Though none was injured, the officer acted negligently endangering human life. An RDO (Revenue Divisional Officer) level enquiry has been ordered into the incident.
In a related move, the Election Commission on Sunday appointed Siddaramappa, an IPS officer belonging to Karnataka, as the Police Observer to the Chidambaram constituency in the place of Mr. Kalson. Mr. Siddaramappa is expected to join duty on Monday.