Dilip Cherian | IPS officer as addl chief secy sets off churn in Sikkim

While nothing stops the govt from appointing an IPS officer to a post traditionally held by IAS cadre, such appointments are extremely rare

When the Sikkim government appointed 1989-batch IPS officer, A. Sudhakar Rao, as additional chief secretary of the home department, the move drew some comment. This is because Mr Rao’s previous posting was as special director general of police, special branch, and he even held the additional charge of DGP, Sikkim.

While nothing stops the government from appointing an IPS officer to a post traditionally held by the IAS cadre, such appointments are extremely rare, say observers. Apparently, the pay scale decides the seniority and hierarchy, not the cadre. In this instance, however, it may also be the officer’s chequered past that caused tongues to wag.

When Mr Rao was given charge of state DGP last year, the appointment was challenged in the Supreme Court due to serious allegations against the officer. Mr Rao apparently had been found guilty by the CBI on a complaint from two junior officers and the matter was sent to the ministry of home affairs (MHA) for action, which is still awaited.

By making Mr Rao an interim DGP, the state government probably made its choice clear but because of the pending allegations against the cop, it clearly was finding it difficult to sustain his claim to the post. The appointment as additional chief secretary (home) is, therefore, being seen as a way out of the dilemma. Amrendra Kumar Singh has replaced Mr Rao as the new DGP of Sikkim for a tenure of two years.

Babus split over Maharashtra’s duelling power centres

The metaphorical “double-engine ki sarkar” in Maharashtra is also a two-headed one — led by chief minister Eknath Shinde and his deputy Devendra Fadnavis, with the latter as the more assertive leader and clearly the real power centre. It is an uneasy and unequal relationship between the two, which is now reflected in the state administration.

Observers point to the recent decision of the Maharashtra government to appoint Deven Bharti, an IAS officer considered close to Mr Fadnavis, as Mumbai Police’s first-ever special commissioner even as the present police commissioner Vivek Phansalkar is still in office as a sign of the fierce tussle going on between Mr Fadnavis and Mr Shinde. Apparently, there are many more such instances babu watchers cite about a state administration torn between two political rivals-turned-allies.

Those in the know have told DKB that Mr Shinde is widely perceived as a token chief minister whereas his deputy Mr Fadnavis is seen as an adept administrator and the one calling the shots in the state government. The discord has percolated into the secretariat and even in the districts, with babus caught in the middle of this tussle. There is considerable discontent brewing in the babu ranks, which does not bode well for the Shinde Sarkar.

Telangana for sending AP cadre officers back to allotted state

The after-effects of the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh in 2014 are still lingering, with growing calls in Telangana state for AP cadre officers who are still continuing to serve in the state, to be repatriated to Andhra Pradesh. The issue has attained political overtones, with a senior BJP leader of Telangana, recently complaining to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) against 15 IAS and IPS officers of the AP cadre who are still working in Telangana, even though the Supreme Court had given its clarification on the issue.

Sometime ago, former chief secretary Somesh Kumar was sent back to his allotted AP cadre, and sources say, there is growing pressure that Telangana DGP Anjani Kumar too should be sent back to Andhra Pradesh. Sources have informed DKB that many officials who belonged to Andhra Pradesh wanted to opt for Telangana and a few from Telangana also opted for the residuary state of Andhra Pradesh, which created some delays, but the process was completed, leaving aside a few officers, whose decision to stay put in Telangana is now under scrutiny.

Meanwhile, 12 IAS and IPS officers who were transferred to AP by the Centre in 2014 have now approached the Supreme Court challenging their transfer, after the high court cancelled their stay and ordered the transfer of Somesh Kumar to the Andhra Pradesh cadre. They are clearly not giving in without a legal tussle.

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