The incumbent chief secretary Sanjay Kumar will retire on February 28. (HT PHOTO)
The incumbent chief secretary Sanjay Kumar will retire on February 28. (HT PHOTO)

Sitaram Kunte, Praveen Pardeshi top contenders for the post of Maharashtra chief secretary

Additional chief secretary (home) Sitaram Kunte and Praveen Pardeshi are believed to be the top contender for the post of chief secretary (CS) of the state government, after the retirement of the incumbent Sanjay Kumar on February 28
By Surendra P Gangan, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 12:20 AM IST

Additional chief secretary (home) Sitaram Kunte and Praveen Pardeshi are believed to be the top contender for the post of chief secretary (CS) of the state government, after the retirement of the incumbent Sanjay Kumar on February 28.

Kunte was in the zone of consideration when Sanjay Kumar was appointed as CS in June last year.

Kunte was believed to be the top contender for the post after his batchmate Praveen Pardeshi, took up responsibility as a global program coordinator at the United Nations Institute of Training and Research (UNITR) in Geneva, Switzerland in August last year. However, Pardeshi joined the state services recently. This would lead to the close fight between both the 1985 batch of the Indian Administration Service (IAS) officers.

If appointed as chief secretary, Kunte or Pardeshi will get nine months in office before retirement on November 30, 2021.

“Contrary to the precedent which has been established over the last few years, the incumbent CS will not be given an extension. He has not asked for an extension and did not move into the official bungalow of the CS opposite Mantralaya after taking charge. Kumar is vying for the post of chairman of the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission, which fell vacant due to the retirement of Anand Kulkarni,” said an official from Mantralaya.

A senior official from the chief minister’s office said that one of the ruling parties is in favour of appointment of Pardeshi as the next CS.

Pardeshi was allegedly unhappy after he was shunted from his post as Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) commissioner in May last year. He opted for the international deputation within months of his transfer.

The change in the senior state administrative posts is also expected to lead to a reshuffle of bureaucrats.

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