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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Mumbai confidential: Double Whammy

Insiders confirmed the space allotted to the MNS will soon be withdrawn, with its overall strength down from seven corporators to just one

| Mumbai | Published: October 16, 2017 2:31:01 am
Raj Thackeray, Shiv Sena, Mumbai Municipal Poll, Iqbal Kaskar, Pradeep Sharma, Mumbai Confidential, Mumbai News, Latest Mumbai News, Indian Express, Indian Express News Raj Thackeray

Double Whammy

Raj Thackeray has been handed a double whammy. As if the loss of six of his party’s corporators to the Shiv Sena was not enough, Thackeray is about to lose the office space allotted to the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) in the BMC headquarters. According to norms, a political outfit must have a minimum five corporators for an office space in the HQ. Insiders confirmed the space allotted to the MNS will soon be withdrawn, with its overall strength down from seven corporators to just one.

Behind The Scenes

The corridors of power are rife with tales over the “role” played by retired IAS officer Shyamsunder Shinde for the BJP in the Nanded municipal polls. The buzz is, Shinde, who had the confidence of the chief minister, was running the show from behind the scenes, along with his brother-in-law Pratap Patil Chikhilikar, a sitting Shiv Sena MLA. After the BJP suffered a drubbing in the poll, an audio clip has now gone viral, showing the local BJP leadership was not in favour of the move. Shinde had faced graft allegations during his years in service.

Image Makeover

The Devendra Fadnavis government has been receiving some bad press of late, especially on the social media platform. As it turns three, the CMO has now come up with a plan for a social media blitzkrieg. As part of its communication strategy, the CM-led General Administration department has empanelled as many as 11 digital agencies to create favourable opinion about the government on social media platforms. Their role includes tracking negative feedback, and targeting influencers for building the government’s image.


Mumbai might soon get a new suburban collector. The buzz in the corridors of power is, the CMO has plans to replace incumbent Deependra Singh Kushwah, an IAS officer of the 2006 batch. The name of Rajesh Narvekar, a Joint Secretary in the CMO, is emerging as the frontrunner for succeeding Kushwah to the post. Meanwhile, the buzz continues in the administrative circles that Dr Bhushan Gagarani, a 1990-batch IAS officer, could soon join the CMO as Principal Secretary.

Cop’s Transfer

The sudden transfer of a high-profile deputy commissioner of police in Mumbai has become the talking point in the police establishment. The officer, with a controversial past, has now been moved to a rather inconsequential position. A theory doing the rounds is, he had disregarded repeated warnings from his seniors about staying away from a “friend” from outside the force, which did not go down well with his higher-ups.

Operation Kaskar

Encounter specialist Pradeep Sharma, now posted in Thane, may well have staged a dramatic comeback with the arrest of Dawood Ibrahim’s brother Iqbal Kaskar, but seniors in the Mumbai Police have a grouse. It turns out, the latter had no inkling about the operation. Although Sharma led a 25-men Thane police team to Kaskar’s Nagpada residence, the local police station was not informed. While questioning if it was wise to deploy so many policemen for the operation, a senior Mumbai Police officer sarcastically remarked, “When he was arrested in 2015, just one constable had visited his residence, and brought him to the police station.”

Retirement Benefits

Post-retirement, most people normally look forward to spending time in leisure with family members. But that’s clearly not the case with most bureaucrats. Mumbai municipality’s former law officer S J Billimoria is a case in point. She retired from service in 2003. But then, for the next 12 years and four months, she functioned as an OSD in the BMC’s legal department. And while Mumbai civic commissioner Ajoy Mehta ended that employment in June 2015, she is now engaged as a legal consultant with the Slum Rehabilitation Authority.

Compiled by Sandeep Ashar & Mohamed Thaver

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