The sudden and controversial transfer last month of Special Protection Group director Durga Prasad has led to several changes in the Prime Minister’s Office. It appears that the government has decided, for the time being, not to fill the post vacated by Mr Prasad. Instead, Gujarat cadre Indian Police Service officer Vivek Srivastava will be inspector-general of the SPG, and will serve as its functional chief. He has been named, sources say, since he is senior to S.S. Chaturvedi who has currently been filling in after Mr Prasad’s unexpected exit.
Meanwhile, eyebrows were raised when the PMO brought in a Madhya Pradesh cadre Indian Administrative Service officer Anurag Jain to add to the number of other “powerful” babus in Narendra Modi’s core team. Some were surprised at the appointment since Mr Jain has worked closely with two Madhya Pradesh chief ministers, Babu Lal Gaur and Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who are not known to be “close” to the Prime Minister. But, apparently, Mr Modi was impressed by the babu’s excellent track record in the energy and power sectors. Clearly,
Mr Modi has plans for this latest inductee in the PMO.
Babus join fight
It’s not often that IAS officers take up cudgels on behalf of a colleague against the government they serve. But the case of Kuldip Narayan, who was suspended from the post of commissioner at the Patna Municipal Corporation, seemed to have struck an empathetic chord in babu circles. In fact, Mr Narayan’s suspension has the makings of a major row between babus and the Manjhi government.
It is believed by many that Mr Narayan’s suspension is politically motivated, since the babu had acted against unauthorised construction activities, and the building “mafia” has powerful political connections. But IAS officers also believe that Mr Narayan was not given a “fair hearing” by the government before being served with the suspension notice. The members of the IAS Association, meanwhile, have met state chief secretary Anjani Kumar Singh, and plan to move a file to chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi to reconsider the suspension order. Interestingly, the state high court had passed an order last year putting a stay on Mr Narayan’s transfer. Wonder what will happen to that?
IAS vs IPS
Kerala is the only state in south India which does to follow the commissionerate system of administration in which the police commissioner is vested with the powers of the district magistrate. One of the reasons for this, observers say, is the power tussle between the IAS and IPS lobbies in the state. Successive state governments, under various political dispensations, have approved the proposal for setting up the commissionerate system but the plan has been stymied by the tug-of-war between the IAS and IPS camps.
The last attempt to introduce the commissionerate system was made about a year ago, but it has not moved forward because of “resistance” from IAS officers, who see in the proposal an attempt to dilute their powers. Though state police chief K.S. Balasubramanian insists that there will be no interference, it is clear that the proposal cannot move forward until the IAS and IPS officials decide to sink their “differences”....