Advani seeks better pay package for close aide

Advani seeks better pay package for close aide

BJP patriarch L K Advani has approached Speaker Sumitra Mahajan seeking a higher pay scale, that of a joint secretary level officer, for his enduring loyal private secretary Deepak Chopra.

Advani, in a note to Mahajan written about a fortnight ago, was of the view that the same pay scale can be given to Chopra who had worked as his private secretary when he was deputy prime minister during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee regime, said BJP sources.

Chopra, who was drawing salary meant for a joint secretary level officer in his previous stint in North Block, continues to be Advani’s private secretary. Advani is chairman of Ethics Committee of the Lok Sabha.

At present, Chopra is entitled to a salary drawn by an under secretary which is in the range of Rs 70,000. A joint secretary gets total emoluments nearing to Rs 1.5 lakh.

Party sources said Advani felt that Chopra cannot be drawing less in an official capacity given that he was paid higher package years ago.

But Mahajan, however, is believed to have been briefed about how can an exception be made out for Advani or any other Parliamentary panel chairperson overlooking the fact that a private secretary can be employed in the pay scale enjoyed from under secretary to director level officers.

In the Lok Sabha, an under secretary has to get three promotions of deputy secretary, additional secretary and director to become joint secretary, explained a retired Parliament official. A chairperson can have two private secretaries, one drawn from Parliament secretariat and the other a political appointee, subject to official nod.

Chopra quit the corporate world to become a close aide of Advani when the latter took out his first Rath Yatra in 1990 trying to build public opinion for construction of a Ram temple at Ayodhya.

Since then, Chopra’s proximity and loyalty to the former BJP president has lent him different monikers in the party as well as for outsiders. He was the “Man Friday” and “Gatekeeper” who had access to Advani.

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