BJP botched up Mehbooba’s plan to have Vyas as CS, Mohananey as DGP
Proposal of Sahai’s deputation to CRPF put on hold despite NOC by J&K Govt
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR, Sep 9: Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s plan to appoint Bharat Bhushan Vyas as Chief Secretary and Avinash Mohananey as Director General of Police in Jammu and Kashmir did not find favour with the Centre as her coalition partner BJP pressed hard in favour of Braj Raj Sharma’s continuation and K. Rajendra Kumar’s succession by none other than the son of soil Dr Shesh Pal Vaid.
According to top level sources in the Government, Mehbooba had turned indignant over some senior bureaucrats’ and Police officers’ act of filing SLP in the Supreme Court of India against an order of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court that had upheld a junior judge’s order directing registration of murder case against a Deputy SP. The State judiciary had also directed contempt proceedings SSP Srinagar and IGP Kashmir for their failure to file murder case against the Deputy SP who had been accused of killing a civilian with his pistol.
The SLP set aside the orders of the State judiciary and brought relief to Jammu and Kashmir Police. Sources said Chief Minister did not want to be seen as someone protecting the Police officers accused of using excessive force against the protesters. She is said to have made it clear to the bureaucracy which ignored her direction and went ahead as per a call from New Delhi. Some concurrent political and administrative developments during the current turmoil were also instrumental behind Mehbooba’s thinking to replace Sharma and Rajendra with Vyas and Mohananey respectively.
A 1984-batch IAS officer, B.R. Sharma, who will be in service till April 30, 2020, had been appointed as Chief Secretary by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed in August last year with the support of all political parties. He is a resident of Jammu and enjoyed favour from as diverse pressure groups as BJP and Congress. An IPS officer of 1984 batch, K Rajendra Kumar, who hails from Andhra Pradesh and has completed two years in the top office, is due to retire as DGP on September 30, 2016.
Sources disclosed to STATE TIMES that Vyas, who has previously held all the key postings including Principal Secretary to Governor N.N. Vohra, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed, emerged as Mehbooba’s first choice for the post of Chief Secretary. The 1986 batch IAS officer from Rajasthan, Vyas is due to retire on November 30, 2017.
Avinash Mohananey, an IPS officer of 1985 batch, who is currently DGP in Sikkim and has previously served as Joint Director of Intelligence Bureau in Srinagar, besides a stint in Pakistan, was Mehbooba’s choice as DGP of J&K.
BJP, according to the sources, asserted assiduously in support of Sharma and Vaid---both residents of Jammu. Narendra Modi Government at the Centre subsequently conveyed to Mehbooba that changing Sharma as Chief Secretary had “no justification” and it could send “wrong signals” to the bureaucracy. It also did not favour Mehbooba’s proposal to spare the Sikkim DGP for J&K. As per BJP’s calculation, it will clear decks for appointment of Dr Vaid as DGP upon Rajendra’s retirement. The 1986 batch IPS officer from Jammu, Vaid will remain in service till October 31, 2019. As and when it happens, it would be probably for the first time that Chief Secretary as well as DGP would be from Jammu.
In the Cabinet meeting on Thursday, Mehbooba did not touch B.R. Sharma but partly proceeded with her plan of getting Vyas to the level of higher decision making. The Government order tactfully played down this important bureaucratic change as if it was a temporary arrangement. “Mr. B.B Vyas, IAS, Financial Commissioner, Planning Development & Monitoring Department, shall hold the charge of the post of Principal Secretary to HCM in addition to his own duties till further orders”, it read. However, the outgoing Principal Secretary Navin Choudhary’s departments, excluding his main, Finance, were all assigned to Vyas, making him the second most important bureaucrat after Chief Secretary. Rajendra, who is due to retire on September 30, was granted extension of three months as DGP.
For some, the possibility of Vyas’ elevation to the top seat does still exist, though two Cabinet Ministers of BJP ruled it out in conversation with this newspaper.
Dr Vaid, who had been appointed as DG Prison in place of his senior, S.K. Mishra, earlier this year, was on Thursday designated as Special DG Law & Order and Coordination, giving him direct intervention in handling the current turmoil and key affairs of J&K Police, parallel to Rajendra’s continuation as DGP. This is being viewed as sidestepping of Mishra (IPS-1985) and a step of Vaid succeeding Rajendra on January 1, 2017.
Meanwhile, the dramatically floated proposal of the Central deputation of Additional DG CID, Shiv Murari Sahai, has also been put on the hold by Union Ministry of Home Affairs despite J&K Government’s NOC to his appointment as IG in CRPF. Sahai was unofficially holding the charge of DG when Rajendra was on leave in Hyderabad on July 8---the day Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed alongwith two more militants by J&K Police and Army in Bamdora village of Kokernag, in Anantnag district.
Zulfiquar posted as IG Ops CRPF Kashmir
Mr Zulfiquar Hassan (IPS) IG Operations at CRPF Directorate has been transferred and appointed as IG Operations, Kashmir, in CRPF with immediate effect. He has been posted on the place earlier vacated by Mr Nalin Prabhat. He will simultaneously hold additional charge of IG Operation CRPF Directorate. By another order issued on Thursday, P.S. Rajora, who had been earlier posted in Jammu, has now been appointed as DIG (Operations), CRPF, Awantipora.
[Published in today’s STATE TIMES]