New Delhi: The Ministry of Home Affairs has asked the West Bengal government to initiate disciplinary proceedings against five top state police officials for taking part in Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s dharna in Kolkata earlier this week.

According to news agency ANI, the Centre is considering stripping them of their medals and may also bar them from central deputation as per All India Services (Conduct) Rules.

“Centre has taken a dim view of serving officers of uniformed forces taking part in dharna. MHA has asked the WB government to take action against the officers who had participated in dharna in Kolkata on 4th February as per All India Services (Conduct) Rules,” ANI quoted MHA sources as saying.

“In addition, a number of measures are also being initiated against defaulting officers such as withdrawing medals. Centre may also remove names of delinquent officers from the empanelled list and bar them for a certain period from serving in the central government,” they added.

According to reports, the five officers have been identified as West Bengal Director General Of Police Virendra, Additional Director General of Police Vineet Kumar Goyal, Additional general of Police (Law and Order) Anuj Sharma, Commissioner of Police (Bidhanagar Commissionerate) Gyanwant Singh, and Additional Commissioner of Police (Kolkata) Supratim Darkaar.

Although the Bengal government is not duty-bound to follow the order, the move is expected to further escalate the friction between the state and the centre.

On Tuesday, the Centre had asked the state government to initiate disciplinary proceedings against Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar for “indiscipline” and violation of services rules.

In a communication to the West Bengal Chief Secretary, The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said that as per the information received by it, Kumar sat on a dharna along with some police officers with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at the Metro Channel in Kolkata, which is prima facie in contravention of the extant provisions of AIS (Conduct) Rules, 1968/AIS (Discipline & Appeal) Rules, 1969.

The latest move by the Centre came after the Supreme Court, acting on the contempt petition filed by the CBI in the Saradha chit fund scam case, directed Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar to appear before the CBI for investigation and “faithfully” cooperate with the agency in investigation of cases arising out of the scam probe.

After the CBI made a failed attempt to question Kumar in connection with chit fund scam cases, Banerjee began a dharna in Kolkata’s Metro Channel alleging that the agency was being used by the BJP-led central government against the party’s political opponent.