The top coveted posts in the state government of Haryana have become a game of musical chairs for the top bureaucrats. In the last three years of Manohar Lal Khattar-led BJP’s tenure in the state, the top posts have seen an unprecedented and rampant change of beholders. The last three years, state government has got five Home Secretaries, four Director Generals of Police, six Director Generals of State Vigilance department, three Principal Secretaries to Chief Minister and three Chief Secretaries. No specific reasons were cited by the government in any such transfer orders.
Principal Secretary to Chief Minister is considered one of the most coveted posts in the state bureaucracy. In its first bureaucratic reshuffle, Sanjeev Kaushal replaced SS Dhillon in October 2014. Kaushal was then replaced by RK Khullar in November 2015. Khullar is the incumbent Principal Secretary to Chief Minister.
Home Secretary in the rank of Additional Chief Secretary has also seen five faces ever since BJP came to power in Haryana. SS Prasad is the fifth Home Secretary of Haryana in the last three years. When BJP came to power, IAS officer Roshan Lal was the then Home Secretary. In its first major reshuffle of IAS officers within a month of taking over, PK Mahapatra replaced Roshan Lal in November, 2014. In November, 2015 PK Das replaced Mahapatra.
However, in May 2016 Das was shunted out after Jat reservation agitation rocked the state in which 30 persons died in armed forces-public clash. Ram Niwas then took over as Additional Chief Secretary (Home) but was transferred out yesterday.
It’s not only the Home Secretary, state has also seen four DGsP during the current BJP government. Months after BJP came to power, it replaced SN Vashisht with Yashpal Singhal. Singhal’s tenure witnessed major violence during the Jat quota stir in the state in February 2016. The Prakash Singh Committee had given adverse comments against Singhal in handling the quota stir and Singhal was shunted out. Then KP Singh became new DGP but he was removed from the post in April this year just a year after his posting to the prestigious post. A reported discord between Haryana assembly speaker Kanwar Pal Gujjar and KP Singh was stated to be reason for removal of the police officer from the top post in the state police. Then BS Sandhu became new DGP. After transfer of Ram Niwas, there are also speculations of Sandhu’s transfer.
The State Vigilance Bureau (SVB) has seen sixth Director General during the current BJP government. When the BJP government came into power, a 1982-batch IPS officer Parminder Rai was heading the bureau. The new government appointed 1983-batch IPS officer Yashpal Singhal to head the SVB. But in January 2015, Singhal was appointed as DGP to replace 1981 batch IPS officer SN Vashisht. Then Vashisht was appointed as Director General of Vigilance Bureau who retired in November 2015. Then the responsibility of Vigilance Bureau was given to Singhal as additional charge.
However, just few days after the violence occurred during the quota stir in February 2016, the top most assignment of the vigilance bureau was again given to Parminder Rai, a 1982 batch IPS officer. But in July this year, he was posted as the chairman and managing director (CMD) of Haryana Police Housing Corporation and PR Deo became new DG of the Vigilance Bureau.
Under fire for its failure to control the violence during Jat reservation agitation in February 2016, the Haryana government in April 2016 had not only shunted out DGP Yashpal Singhal but also transferred Additional Director General of Police (CID) Shatrujeet Kapoor. Then, IG (Hisar range) Anil Rao was posted as the new Intelligence chief.
When BJP came to power, Shakuntla Jakhu was the Chief Secretary. She retired on November 30, 2014 and was replaced by PK Gupta who too retired on December 31. DS Dhesi, then took over as the Chief Secretary. Among the top bureaucrats, Dhesi is the only one who has managed to survive in all weathers since then.
Haryana’s former CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda said, “This government thinks that by transferring officers, development shall take place in the state. This has become a government of vendetta, transfers and changing names of cities and towns. Chief Minister is merely trying to justify the death of 40 persons for getting a Baba [Grumeet Ram Rahim Singh] out of his dera. This shows an utter failure of the state government”. Haryana BJP spokesperson Raman Malik, however, called it a state government’s “prerogative”.