Speculation is rife in the corridors of power that a senior Delhi-based Indian Revenue Service officer has nudged ahead of Maharashtra’s Chief Secretary Dinesh Kumar Jain in the race for the post of an election commissioner with the Central Election Commission. Jain, a 1983-batch officer, who is set to retire this month-end, was believed to be keen on landing the prestigious assignment. But that seeming unlikely for now, the debate on him getting a three-month extension as the chief secretary has gained momentum, yet again.
A heated exchange took place between Shiv Sena Minister of State (Revenue) Sanjay Rathod and BJP’s Ambad legislator Narayan Kuche at the former’s official residence this past week. According to sources, Kuche’s allegations against Rathod’s personal aide over a land matter related to his constituency triggered the duel.
If our sources are to be believed, Mumbai civic commissioner Ajoy Mehta (1984), who is seen as one of the main contenders in the race for the state’s next chief secretary, is still eyeing a berth as a secretary to the Government of India. While Mehta was empanelled for a GOI secretary-rank position in 2017 itself, he now has just nine months of service left, which, sources claimed, will work to his disadvantage. At present, Maharashtra has just two secretary-rank officers — Ajay Bhushan Pandey (1984) and Sanjeevani Kutty (1983) — in the Union government.
Speculation has intensified that retired bureaucrat Sambhaji Zende will soon take the plunge in electoral politics. Sources said Zende is understood to be keen to contest the 2019 Vidhan Sabha polls from Pune’s Purandar, which is currently represented by Shiv Sena’s minister Vijay Shivtare. Incidentally, while Zende is the brother-in-law of Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, he is said to be in talks with the NCP for his election debut. Prabhakar Deshmukh, another retired bureaucrat, is already in contention for an NCP ticket from the Mada Lok Sabha seat.
Eyebrows were raised in the corridors of power when two Pune-based Congress activists — Abhay Chhajed and Sanjay Balgude — called a press conference in Pune to make serious allegations against Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis over a land deal in Mumbai. With the duo also releasing some official papers in this regard, a debate has ensued on whether an insider leaked the information.
A bench of Bombay High Court Chief Justice Naresh Patil and Justice M S Karnik recently expressed its surprise when Raigad district Collector Vijay Survavanshi’s office — which has been tasked with demolition of illegal bungalows belonging to the rich and famous along the beaches at Alibaug — urged the court to direct the state government to extend financial aid for it. “Isn’t the district collector also a part of the state government? Then how can you write a letter to yourself asking for funds,” the bench asked. Some of the senior bureaucrats were also stunned by the affidavit.
(Compiled by Sandeep Ashar)