Capt Amarinder’s chief principal secy back in office within 24 hours
Kumar, who stayed away from the secretariat and did not attend official meetings on Thursday, was asked by the CM to resume work, said sourcesUpdated: Aug 05, 2017, 10:00 IST
A day after he offered to quit as his appointment was challenged in the high court, Suresh Kumar, chief principal secretary to Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh, was back in his office on Friday.
Kumar, who stayed away from the secretariat and did not attend official meetings on Thursday, was asked by the CM to resume work, said sources. He attended the cabinet meeting chaired by the CM and cleared official files. However, Amarinder told journalists that he (Suresh Kumar) had not gone anywhere and was on leave for a day.
Earlier in the day, Kumar told HT that he would examine the petition and act accordingly. He was in the chief minister’s office (CMO) an hour later. The appointment of Kumar, who belonged to 1983-batch of the IAS and retired in April 2016, has been challenged by advocate HS Brar, saying that there was no provision in the rules for bestowing the rank of cabinet secretary on a retired officer. “He has been delegated the powers to oversee functioning of principal secretary to CM (PSCM) which is a cadre post,” Brar told the court.
Considered close to Amarinder, Kumar remained his principal secretary for more than three years during his first tenure as CM (2002-2007). Though there was no surprise when he was inducted into the CMO, the appointment led to heartburn in a section of the hierarchy driven bureaucracy. Kumar has been in the driver’s seat from day one with the CM’s complete confidence. But the petition has set tongues wagging.
The bureaucratic circles are split on who is behind the petition challenging the appointment. There is talk that the petition is motivated by the opposition Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), but a section of the bureaucracy does not rule out the possibility of it being an “inside job”. “The petition has been filed on behalf of Ramandeep Singh, a public spirited lawyer. We have strong grounds,” said Brar.