The Haryana government appears to be keen on appointing 1977-batch IAS officer, Pradeep Kumar Chaudhery, as the next chief secretary. The present incumbent, 1975-batch IAS officer Urvashi Gulati, retires on March 31.
Chaudhery is at present posted as secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) in the Union ministry of commerce and industries. If appointed state chief secretary, Chaudhery will have a tenure of 15 months.
Top officials said that chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda is expected to write to the central government seeking the services of Chaudhery. When asked, Hooda, however, said: "We haven't decided yet. Once we make up our mind, we will write to the central government."
If Chaudhery is appointed as the next chief secretary, he will supersede two of his batchmates, Raj Kumar and Krishna Mohan, who are senior to him within the 1977 batch. Raj Kumar has about five months to retire. Though Krishna Mohan retires in September 2013, his chances of appointment to the top post seem remote since he is facing a CBI case.
A similar scenario had emerged in 2006 also when Hooda had appointed 1970-batch IAS officer Prem Prashant while ignoring the claims of two of his batchmates, KC Sharma and Asha Sharma, who were inter-se senior to Prashant but had short tenures.
Prem Prashant was appointed by superseding his batchmates in the interest of continuity as he had 16 months of service left. The same consideration could come in play this time as well, sources said.
Chaudhery, who went on a central deputation in 2008, served as additional secretary in the Union commerce ministry. He was also the chief negotiator for India-EU bilateral trade and investment agreement. The officer has also worked as director general, anti-dumping, and director general, foreign trade, besides chairman of the export inspection council.
Prior to his stint at the Centre, Chaudhery served under Hooda as principal secretary, industries and commerce, information technology and mines and geology. He was also the managing director of the Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Corporation (HSIIDC) in 1991.