A decision on Maharashtra’s next Chief Secretary is imminent and Additional Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte, currently the state’s general administration department head, is seen as the frontrunner to succeed incumbent Ajoy Mehta on June 30.
Mehta, who belongs to the 1984 batch of IAS officers, was supposed to retire on September 30, 2019, but received a couple of term extensions. Sources said that he was unlikely to get a third extension.
Kunte (1985 batch), who has previously served as Mumbai’s municipal commissioner, shares a good rapport with the chief minister. The Congress and the NCP, too, are not averse to his appointment either. Other contenders for the coveted post include Additional Chief Secretary (Housing) Sanjay Kumar, Additional Chief Secretary (Urban Development) Praveen Pardeshi.
In fact, Kumar is the seniormost among those in the fray. He belongs to the 1984 batch of IAS. He also holds the post of the Home Secretary. Thackeray, meanwhile, had abruptly transferred Pardeshi from the Mumbai civic commissioner’s post amid the pandemic in May.
Speculation is rife that Mehta, on the other hand, will be roped in as a special advisor to the chief minister himself. After coming to power in the state, Thackeray has relied heavily on Mehta to deal with administrative issues. A proposal to appoint him as a Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, after the end of his tenure, has been under active consideration.
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