State seeks three months extension for chief secretary Sitaram Kunte
The Maharashtra government has sent a proposal to the Centre, seeking an extension for chief secretary Sitaram Kunte for three months. Kunte, who is set to retire on November 30, was appointed to the post on February 28. The Centre is expected to decide on the same in a couple of days.
Manukumar Srivastava, additional chief secretary (ACS), home, Sujata Saunik, ACS, general administration department, Manoj Saunik, ACS, finance, are the frontrunners for the top post. Srivastava is a 1986 batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, while Sauniks are from the 1987 batch.
Kunte, an officer from the 1985 batch, took charge after the retirement of Sanjay Kumar as the chief secretary. He was holding the position of additional chief secretary for home at that time.
In his career, Kunte has held several key positions in the Maharashtra government. His most known tenure was as the municipal commissioner of Mumbai between 2012-15. He served in the finance, planning and environment departments among others.
Last time, the then chief secretary Ajoy Mehta got two extensions, one in the erstwhile Devendra Fadnavis-led government and second in the current dispensation. In 2019, Mehta was due to retire on September 30 when he was given an unusual six months extension in view of the state Assembly polls, following a request by the Fadnavis government. The Centre again gave him an extension of three months following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. He retired in June last year.
DGP Pandey may continue his tenure till June 2022
Although the Union Public Services Commission (UPSC) has not empanelled the acting director general of police (DGP) Sanjay Pandey in the three names it has recommended to the state government, the state is likely to continue him on the post. Though the appointment of the DGP is to be from the three names recommended by the UPSC, as per the SC verdict in the Prakash Singh case, many state governments have overruled the recommendation. The UPSC has empanelled Rajnish Seth, Hemant Nagrale and K Venkatesham for the post.
“It is an unacceptable provision, as it overpowers the authority of the state government. This is happening for the first time with us that the officers we want to appoint on the post are not featured in the list of three recommended names. Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray is unlikely to replace him and Pandey is likely to continue his tenure till June 2022,” said a senior official from the home department.