Center orders Telangana CS to join Andhra cadre by Thursday

Update: 2023-01-10 18:29 GMT
Telangana chief secretary Somesh Kumar. (Photo:@TelanganaCS)

Hyderabad: In a swift move, the Centre on Tuesday relieved Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar from Telangana “with immediate effect” and ordered him to join the Andhra Pradesh cadre by Thursday.

The orders came within hours of the Telangana High Court setting aside the Central Administrative Tribunal order that had changed Somesh Kumar’s cadre from AP to TS post-state bifurcation.

The marching orders were issued even as Somesh Kumar went to meet Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao at Pragati Bhavan in the afternoon, and the top brass were mulling options including voluntary retirement ante that would help the senior official avoid the embarrassment of reporting in the neighbouring state. Sources said Chief Ministers were earlier empowered by the Centre to approve voluntary retirement of All India Services (AIS) officials.

In such case, two senior officials, K. Ramakrishna Rao and Arvind Kumar, both of whom enjoy the confidence of the powers that be, will be the front runners for the post.

But if Somesh Kumar is given an adviser’s post and asked to be the shadow CS, it is unlikely that they would be considered. Other senior officials include Rani Kumidini, Shanti Kumari and Rajat Kumar.

Highly placed sources told Deccan Chronicle that the Centre took serious note of Somesh Kumar skipping the Chief Secretaries conference held by Prime Minister Narendra Modi a few days ago. “All CSs except Somesh were present,” sources said adding that the unprecedented rush shown by the Union department of personnel and training in implementing the High Court order had its origins in the official skipping the PM’s meet.

Incidentally, the DoPT had challenged the CAT order in the High Court but did not get it listed for four years after filing the case. Deccan Chronicle carried a report, “Centre’s plea on CS struck in HC,” on March 24, 2021, highlighting the delay. The HC subsequently took up hearings and reserved the case for judgment on July 7, 2022.

The HC order on Tuesday will impact other officials who were allotted to AP but were continuing in Telangana based on CAT orders similar to the one Somesh Kumar had secured.

AIS officials were of the view that there was chaos in cadre transfers post-bifurcation. Both the states had been deciding on cadre transfers without the involvement of DoPT which for most times remains mute spectator and selectively reacts like in the case of Somesh Kumar, sources said referring to senior bureaucrat Y. Srilakshmi getting relieving orders from TS and joining AP within no time after the CAT orders.

On the other hand, officers like Ananta Ramu had to wait in AP despite orders from the CAT transferring his cadre to TS.

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