Speed in Himachal
After the regime change in Himachal Pradesh, this was only expected. But such was newly appointed Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh’s hurry that he conducted a reshuffling of senior babus in the hill State even before he allocated portfolios to his Cabinet colleagues! Clearly, the new CM wishes and needs to distance himself quickly from his predecessor’s administration. But, observers note, the reshuffle is also indicative of the new pecking order in babudom, especially those considered “close” to the regime and those who were seen to be closed allied to the previous BJP Government. Among the changes introduced by Virbhadra Singh, Deepak Sanan, Principal Secretary for Power, and Manisha Nanda, Principal Secretary for Personnel were divested of their responsibilities as was Bharat Khera, who was Managing Director of HP State Industrial Corporation. Khera is now secretary for General Administration. Similarly, Additional Chief Secretary P. Mitra who also holds charge of Agriculture has been given a further responsibility of Rural Development. This, of course, is just an early hint of a more elaborate reshuffle of babus in Himachal.
Under the scanner
While babus in Dilli’s Ministries were stunned when the CBI recently filed formal charges against two colleagues in the 2G scam, babus in Uttar Pradesh, especially those considered close to former Chief Minister Ms Mayawati, too are feeling the CBI heat. They are being drawn in, as it investigates various alleged scams that occurred during her party’s rule. Even as the CBI sleuths are probing former Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh in the multi-crore scam in the Civil Aviation Department, another lesser known fact is that another bureaucrat too is under investigation. Sources say that senior IAS officer Navneet Sehgal’s assets are being probed by the agency’s sleuths. Sehgal is currently Secretary in the Department of Religious affairs, but also happens to be one of Mayawati’s favoured officers. There are many in UP who are anxious to know who else is under the CBI’s scanner.
AP Govt in a fix or is it a Rao?
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Krishna Kumar Reddy is in a fix over naming the State’s new Chief Secretary to succeed Ms Minnie Mathew. As has been the practice, the Chief Commissioner of Land Administration (CCLA) is usually elevated to Chief Secretary when a vacancy arises. Ms Matthew, a 1978 batch IAS officer hailing from Kerala, too was CCLA before being named to the top post. Unfortunately, what is queering the pitch while deciding on Mathew’s successor is that the current Chief Commissioner of Land Administration, M Samuel, is facing a CBI investigation in a land allotment case. This has opened up the field for other potential candidates to push their case. Sources say that J. Satyanarayana, a 1977 batch officer, is the senior most but he has chosen to go on Central deputation and lost the opportunity. Others whose names are being mentioned include I.V. Subba Rao, P.K. Mohanthy and I.Y.R. Krishna Rao. If the Government cannot make up its mind, many believe that Ms Mathew may find her tenure extended.