By Rajeev Sharma
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has begun effecting key bureaucratic changes on key posts. With Dr Amitabh Rajan taking over as Director of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the most-powerful money laundering investigation agency, speculations about present incumbent Arun Kumar Mathur getting an extension have been put to rest. Mathur, an IAS officer of 1977, is superannuating in February 2012 end.
Amitabh Rajan was handpicked by Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and will continue to remain additional secretary in the revenue ministry. There was hectic lobbying in government for giving extension to Mathur on the ground that several sensitive cases of FERA violations against the high and mighty people are at crucial stage.
It is learnt that the change of guards in the PMO is also one of the reasons of Mathur not getting an extension as he was considered a favourite of former principal secretary TKA Nair. Since Nair is now Adviser in the PMO and his successor Pulok Chatterjee is calling the shots, power equations have changed.
Well placed sources in the government said that the panel that was set to look for the new ED Director has also been scrapped as the finance ministry is too busy to proceed due to Budget preparations. Though a new selection panel will look for new Enforcement Directorate, there is a possibility that Amitabh Rajan may continue to hold the dual charge.
Meanwhile, Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma is taking his own time to select a new Secretary in the Steel ministry. Though P K Misra sought a transfer due to lack of equation with the Minister and the government decided to promote him as the new secretary in the Department of Personnel and Training under the Prime Minister himself.
There is speculation that if the Congress fails to perform well in Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, particularly in areas under Verma’s belt, his wings may be clipped. Many of the waiting officers of 1977 batch may get the slot as another post of the secretary in the AYUSH department in the union health ministry is also lying vacant.
The government notified the appointment of J Sathya-narayana as new Secretary, Information Technology after the same remained vacant for almost a year. He is a 1977 batch IAS officer of Andhra Pradesh cadre. Pradeep Kumar Sinha (IAS UP:1977) has been appointed as Secretary and this set the ball rolling for the officers of the 1978 batch to be made secretaries. Sharad Gupta presently serving as DG, Bureau of Indian Standars (BIS) under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has been appointed as next Secretary of the Department of Official Language in the Ministry of Home Affairs.