Cabinet Secy gets second extension

Chandrashekar assumed the office of the cabinet secretary in June, 2007 for a fixed term of two years. He was given an extension of a year in June, 2009 and was due to retire on June 14, this year. However, the UPA government has now extended his tenure “till further orders but not exceeding one year”.

A government notification said Chandrashekhar has been given an extension “beginning June 13, 2010, for one year or until further orders, whichever is earlier”. Official sources said the 1970-batch Kerala cadre IAS officer would continue as cabinet secretary until the end of the Commonwealth Games, scheduled to be held in October, for which he is the chief nodal authority.

However, this extension would mean heartburn to the other 1972 and 1973 batch officers who were in line to become cabinet secretary, especially Urban Development Secretary M Ramachandran and Telecom Secretary P J Thomas, who were hoping to replace Chandrashekhar. If his tenure is not extended beyond the Games, current Finance Secretary Ashok Chawla’s prospects of taking over the coveted post seem bright.

Speculations are also ripe whether Chandrashekar has been given an extension to make the road clear for Pulok Chatterji, a 1974-batch officer who was private secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi when she was the Opposition leader. After serving in the Prime Minister’s Office, the Uttar Pradesh cadre officer, Chatterji, is now serving as Executive Director in the World Bank. If he becomes the top official of the government, then he would be superseding nearly over a dozen officers senior to him.

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