The Centre has rejected a state government proposal for extending 1997-batch Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer Pallavi Darade’s deputation period. Darade, who is currently the Commissioner of the state Food and Drug Administration, will now be required to rejoin her parent department — the Income Tax — when her ongoing deputation ends this April. She is also the wife of Chief Minister’s Secretary Pravin Darade (1997 batch, IAS). Although Darade’s deputation was originally for a three-year period, she had earlier received a couple of extensions to serve a total of seven years in the state administration.
Score To Settle?
In what is perhaps a first in the state administration, the CM-led General Administration Department has asked all IAS officers to fill up a separate form disclosing if their spouses had private businesses or consultancies. While the department has invoked an existing section in the All India Service Rules to justify its requirement, speculation is rife in the corridors of power that an ongoing tussle between a senior BJP minister and a high-profile bureaucrat had prompted it. According to sources, the minister has levelled some allegations regarding the business interests of the bureaucrat’s spouse. But some senior bureaucrats hold the opinion that he is basically upset over an action initiated by the officer against one of his close supporters, and that the minister was out to settle a score.
Eyebrows were raised when 2008-batch IRS officer Rupesh Agarwal was named as the General Manager of the state-run Maharashtra Information Technology Corporation last August. According to sources, Agarwal, who was previously holding the post of Deputy Director (Investigation) in Mumbai’s Income Tax, is eyeing a position with the Enforcement Directorate and has already written to the government in this regard.
Questions are being raised in the state bureaucracy on how two IAS officers — who were elevated to secretary rank this January — continue to serve as district Collectors; which is a lower-grade position. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has retained Sachin Kurve (2003) and V N Kalam (2004) as the Collectors for Mumbai (Suburbs) and Sangli, respectively, despite their elevation. While a proposal regarding their transfer has been pending for over a month, the CMO is yet to find ‘suitable’ replacements.
Word is that the senior bureaucracy is upset over the downgrading of key agriculture and cooperative department positions. While the posts of the agriculture commissioner, the cooperatives commissioner, and commissioner (sugar) have traditionally been held by secretary-rank officers, junior officers have now been appointed on all of these. Some senior officials feel that the political leadership has opted for more ‘pliable’ options. Speculation has also intensified over the abrupt transfer of Sachindra Pratap Singh (2007, IAS) from the Agriculture Commissioner’s post.
With Mumbai Police Commissioner Subodh Jaiswal set to be named as state’s Director General of Police (DGP), intense lobbying has begun yet again for the commissioner’s post. According to sources, a Union minister has pulled his weight behind one of the contenders, while another aspirant to the post is also using his Nagpur connections to bolster his chances. Meanwhile, there is some talk in the power corridors that outgoing DGP Dattatray Padsalgikar could be considered for the vacant post of the Chairman of the Maharashtra Public Service Commission.
Contributed by SANDEEP ASHAR)