J&K chief secretary resigns

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary Muhammad Iqbal Khandey decided to quit from top chair of bureaucracy on Tuesday after his reported differences with the PDP-BJP coalition government.

Sources said Khandey, scheduled to retire in November, is already preparing his documents for voluntary retirement, and that they would be submitted before the state government in a day or two.

The sources said Khandey felt offended at being “sidelined on some critical aspects of decision-making” since the PDP-BJP alliance came to power. His first face-off with the coalition — differences with Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh — came to the fore in May.

In July, another controversy erupted over appointment of Public Service Commission (PSC) members when Khandey was reportedly asked to clear members without requisite scrutiny of their character and conduct. Media speculation had run high on August 21 about Khandey’s differences with the government when he did not attend the state Cabinet meeting.

Khandey, considered close to PDP patron and Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed during his first terms as chief minister, is a 1978-batch IAS officer. He was appointed chief secretary on February 18, 2013, during the rule of the Omar Abdullah-led National Conference-Congress alliance.

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