Rajiv Mehrishi is home secretary

Rajiv Mehrishi is home secretary

Rajiv Mehrishi is home secretary

In a surprise move, the government on Monday appointed senior IAS officer Rajiv Mehrishi as the new home secretary on the day of his retirement.

Mehrishi will succeed L C Goyal who took voluntary retirement (VRS) due to “personal reasons” 17 months before his tenure would have ended.

Within hours of approval for his VRS, which led to speculation about his troubles with the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Goyal was appointed chairman and managing director of India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO). No official reason was given for replacing Goyal, who became home secretary on February 5 when he succeeded Anil Goswami.

Goswami took VRS after it came to light that he “tried to prevent” the CBI from arresting former Union minister Matang Sinh in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam case.

Mehrishi’s appointment has a striking similarity to that of Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, who was brought in on the day of his retirement, after securing VRS for then incumbent Sujata Singh. Both Jaishankar and Mehrishi enjoy the trust of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

A 1978-batch Rajasthan cadre officer, Mehrishi was the Economic Affairs Secretary and with the new appointment, he will now serve till August 30, 2017. Hours after the order was issued, Mehrishi assumed office.

Mehrishi was brought to the Centre in October from Rajasthan where he was serving as chief secretary and speculation was that he was being groomed for the Cabinet Secretary’s post. However, then power secretary P K Sinha was selected for the post.

His successor in the Finance Ministry was also announced on Saturday night but it remained a secret until Monday afternoon that Mehrishi is getting an extra lease of life in government service.
In a curious turn of events, the PMO first issued a press statement about the appointment.