Two important bureaucrats will be returning to Gujarat soon,setting off an overhaul at the top levels in the state government,where many positions will fall vacant due to superannuation of a number of IAS officers.
One of the bureaucrats being repatriated is joint secretary in the Union ministry of commerce and industry,Anil Mukim,who served as additional principal secretary to Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the tumultuous year of 2002 and after. He is being tipped as the successor to powerful bureaucrat K Kailashnathan,or KK,who is currently principal secretary to Modi and one of his most trusted lieutenants. Kailashnathan retires in end of May.
Though the other officer in the Chief Minister Office,secretary A K Sharma,is also in the reckoning,sources say he is too junior to occupy KKs shoes.
The other bureaucrat who is returning to Gujarat is J N Singh,a 1983-batch IAS officer whose deputation as Member (Finance) in the National Highways Authority of India since February 2010 ended on March 31 this year.
Mukim,a 1985-batch IAS officer,was also the municipal commissioner of Ahmedabad from 2005 till 2006,when he left for Delhi. Seen as loyal to Modi as an officer in the CMO,he defended the CM before the Nanavati-Mehta commission probing the Gujarat riots as late as 2011. He had deposed before the commission that suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt was not in the meeting called by Modi at his residence on the night of February 27,2002. He had also denied Bhatts claim that Modi gave any illegal orders in this meeting.
Both Singh and Mukim have had important roles in the industrialisation in Gujarat at the turn of the century. Singh,who went to New Delhi on deputation in 2005,has also served as a joint secretary in the textile ministry and was seen as close to late Union textile minister Kashiram Rana.
Mukim was the collector of Kutch during the earthquake of 2001.
Apart from Kailashnathan,the state government is also hunting for replacements for IAS officers like R K Tripathy (principal secretary of agriculture department),I P Gautam (principal secretary of urban development department),Arunkumar Sutaria and M V Pargi,who are among those retiring in the next few months.