Dilip Cherian | A former adviser to PM secures plum PSEB post

Not only does Mr Sinha fill a key gap in the board, but many have taken it as an optimistic sign

The appointment of Amarjit Sinha, former Union secretary for rural development and, more significantly, former adviser to Prime Minister Narendra Modi as member of the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB), has been watched keenly by babus. Not only does Mr Sinha fill a key gap in the board, but many have taken it as an optimistic sign.

Mr Sinha has joined Mallika Srinivasan who is the chairperson of PESB and who, just a few months ago, had requested the Centre to relieve her of her excessive burden at PESB and the Centre had complied by changing the resolution on the functioning of the public sector head hunter. With Mr Sinha coming on board, a section of senior babus sees in his appointment a “message” from the PMO itself. It is hoped that his experience as a former Union secretary and adviser to Mr Modi, Mr Sinha brings competence and seniority as well as the confidence of the administration in making PESB an independent body.

It seems as if Mr Sinha’s selection for the post was decided in the context of Mallika Srinivasan seeking to be free of demanding routine responsibilities at PESB. It is believed that Mr Sinha will now take up a bulk of that load. And he has the green light from the highest authority.

A badly handled transfer

It took a directive from the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) for the Haryana government to withdraw the transfer order of S.S. Saini, assistant conservator of forests, Panchkula, issued in December last year, posting him as divisional forest officer, Kaithal, displacing Ranbir Singh Dhull, who is deputy conservator of forests, Kaithal.

The decision to withdraw the transfer order came only after CAT directed the state chief secretary Sanjeev Kaushal to file an affidavit in the matter after Mr Dhull challenged the order in CAT. In his petition, Mr Dhull claimed that his transfer was not approved by the Civil Service Board and that Mr Saini was posted to Kaithal without issuing Mr Dhull’s further posting order. Curiously, the state government initially claimed that Mr Dhull had been transferred to Kaithal “mistakenly”!

With the tribunal accepting Mr Dhull’s argument, the government has retracted and withdrawn Mr Saini’s transfer order. Meanwhile, it remains to be seen whether it will now take a call on whether Mr Dhull will stay in his current posting or be transferred, hopefully without further “error” and more embarrassment. That will be decided once Mr Kaushal files the government’s affidavit in this bungled transfer case.

Bihar faces contempt action over DGP’s appointment

The Nitish Kumar government in Bihar finds itself in a fix, after defying a Supreme Court ruling on the appointment of the director-general of police (DGP). Not only will its appointee S.K. Singhal have to go, but the government itself faces a contempt case for ignoring the ruling of the apex court while appointing Mr Singhal as officiating DGP.

Sources have informed DKB that a state government has to send a list of eligible candidates to Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to shortlist them before naming the DGP. The Bihar government ignored this procedure. Further, in earlier rulings the Supreme Court had given clear direction to administrators of all states and Union Territories not to appoint an officiating DGP. But the Nitish government ignored these when naming Mr Singhal as officiating DGP. Now it will have to explain its stance to the court.

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