The Narendra Modi-led government has shunted out revenue secretary Rajiv Takru, bringing in fertilizer secretary Shaktikanta Das to replace him.
The move comes even as the Union budget is being finalized and is unusual since senior finance ministry officials are not transferred during the budget-making exercise. It also runs contrary to indications that the NDA would not opt for large-scale transfers of senior civil servants.
But there were suggestions that Takru might be an exception with a Gujarat government official saying Modi wasn’t “favourably inclined towards Takru” due to his proximity to a senior Congress leader. Relations between the two had reportedly soured during Takru’s stint in the Gujarat Urban Development Company and the state civil supply corporation.
Takru has been posted to head the department responsible for overseeing development in the Northeast. Calling the transfer ‘routine’, Takru said, “I have a sense of relief since I will be able to focus on development of the Northeast.”
Takru had been appointed revenue secretary in March ahead of the parliamentary elections.
A BJP MP close to Modi said there were suspicions in the party that Takru was behind the Congress releasing a picture showing Modi with Afroz Fatta — an alleged Surat-based hawala operator — in the middle of the elections.
The Enforcement Directorate — which reports to the revenue secretary — had started a probe against Fatta for money laundering.