By the Way

Right connections

Is Home Minister Rajnath Singh aware of what is happening in his ministry? Is he sure that the civil servants are not taking him for a ride? Just look at the case of the appointment of the new Administrator for Daman, Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli. When the NDA government came to power in May 2014, it was decided that an officer who had served as a PS to Ministers in the UPA government would not be appointed to any key posts. But this tacit understanding is being overlooked in the Home Ministry. First, they appointed Ashish Kundra, a 1996-batch IAS officer of the AGMUT cadre, as an Administrator of Daman, Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli.

Kundra has served as PS to Anand Sharma, former Union Minister for Commerce. Now he has been transferred mid-tenure, without completing three years. There was some talk that he will be shifted out after December 2015. It is a precedent that in such cases the Home Minister generally consults the local MPs. Accordingly, Nathu Bhai Patel, MP from Dadra & Nagar Haveli, and Lalu Bhai Patel, MP from Daman and Diu, were expecting to be consulted by the Home Minister. But, it never happened. However, the appointment of Vikram Dev Dutt, a 1993-batch IAS officer of the AGMUT cadre, as Administrator, Daman Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli, came as a shock to them. They rushed to the Home Minister the very next day to get the order cancelled. It is learnt that the order is irreversible. Dutt too has served as PS to Ajay Maken, a former Minister of State. Sources disclosed that Vikram’s appointment was managed by a former administrator sitting far away in Arunachal Pradesh, utilising his closeness with his batchmate, a very powerful officer in the Prime Minister’s Office. Who says connections do not work!

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