Amaravathi: The Election Commission of India (ECI) Friday removed Andhra Pradesh chief secretary Anil Chandra Punetha from the post and appointed a senior-most IAS officer LV Subrahmanyam of the 1983 batch in the place of the former.

The ECI stated this in a communication to the Andhra Pradesh government.

While addressing a gathering in Amaravathi on Friday, state chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu strongly reacted to the Election Commission of India ruling out chief secretary Anil Chandra Punetha. He said the poll panel was acting at the command of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

During a rally in Amaravathi, Naidu said, "The ECI first transferred a collector, then shunted out three IPS officials. Today, they removed the chief secretary without giving any reason. It can't act in whatever way it likes. It should function impartially."

Earlier, the ECI had removed two top bureaucrats from their positions during election time.

Also, the ECI directed that Punetha, scheduled to retire from service May-end, be posted to a 'non-election' position.

Punetha had filed a writ petition in the Andhra Pradesh high court on March 27 challenging the ECI order transferring the director general of intelligence AB Venkateswara Rao.

In the petition, he contended that the ECI did not have any 'untrammelled powers' to interfere with the course of administration that is unconnected to polling.

"The ECI cannot engage in the unchecked, arbitrary and uncanalised exercise of power," Naidu added.

The ECI order suffers from the vice of lack of jurisdiction, suffers from being a colourable exercise of power and is based on alien purposes or oblique motives which have nothing to do with the conduct of polling duties, state political secretary (general administration department) N Srikant had said in the petition filed on behalf of the chief secretary.

The chief secretary had complied with the ECI order on Tuesday midnight and transferred the intelligence DG, along with two district SPs, but he cancelled the intelligence chief’s transfer order Wednesday morning after the chief minister allegedly raised a hue and cry.

The high court had rejected the chief secretary's petition last Friday, forcing him to issue an order shifting the DG intelligence.