May 30, 2020
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Gandhinagar In Lutyens’ Delhi

Bureaucrats from Gujarat who have been given plum postings after Modi became prime minister 15 months ago

Gandhinagar In Lutyens’ Delhi

Indian Administrative Service Officers

Hare Krushna Dash, IAS, 1980 batch
Secretary, Inter State Council, Ministry of Home

Dash was appointed secretary in the Inter State Council secretariat in the ministry of home in July 14, 2014. He has also served as additional chief secretary of the ports and transport department. A post-graduate from Hull University, UK, he is known as an effective communicator and administrator. As head of the ports department, he was entrusted with culling a role for Gujarat in shipbuilding, privatisation, modernisation of existing ports and creation of maritime institutions and infrastructure. 

Pradeep Kumar Pujari, IAS, 1981 batch
Power secretary

Pujari has worked in the ministry of agriculture as special secretary and financial advisor. In March 2015, he was shif­ted to the ministry of home. Domiciled in Orissa, he is credited with the state getting the  offer of a 4000 MW Ultra Mega Power Plant (UMPP).

Rajesh Kishore, IAS, 1980 batch
Secretary General, National Human Rights Commission

Kishore, among the  favourites, was appointed on June 27, 2014. He is said to have impressed the PM with his work as head of the Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority as its CEO from 2005 to 2009. In 2009 he became principal secretary, health and family welfare, in his parent state Gujarat.

Raj Kumar, IAS, 1987 batch
Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs

Kumar, an IIT graduate with a degree in public policy from Tokyo, is a workaholic. He scripted the 2010 report on food inflation when the then PM Manmohan Singh appointed Modi as chairman of the committee on consumer affairs to tac­kle food inflation. The report was appreciated for its crisp 20 recommendations and 64 actionable ideas.

Rajeev Topno, IAS, 1996 batch
Private Secretary to the Prime Minister

Topno, the youngest officer to serve as PS to the PM, was hailed by the then Gujarat CM as “our man in the PM’s office.’’ He was a director in Dr Manmohan Singh’s PMO as director between 2009 and 2014. His last posting in Gujarat was as MD of IndexB. He has also served as collector of Baroda and Bharuch. A pending inquiry for irregularities allegedly committed during his stint as Kutch DC is a blot though.

Sunaina Tomar, IAS 1989 batch
Empanelled as Joint Secretary

Tomar, joint secretary in the ministry of textiles, was given in May 2015 additional charge of member secretary of the Central Silk Board.

Tapan Ray, IAS, 1982 batch
Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs

Ray, an IIT alumnus with a degree in public policy from Princeton University, also holds a degree in public administration from Syracuse University, USA. Add to that a double LLB from Gujarat and he emerges possibly among the most ‘educa­ted’ of the lot! Before he joined Nirmala Sitharaman, he was AS in the department of electronics and IT. He has also served as joint secretary, defence.

R.P. Gupta, IAS, 1987 batch
Joint Secretary, Ministry of Coal 

Gupta, an IIT graduate, has earlier worked as commissioner of rural development and also had experience in the food, civil supplies and consu­mer affairs. He has also had the additional charge of MD, GNFC.

Manoj Aggarwal, IAS, 1990 batch
Empanelled as Joint Secretary in GOI

Aggarwal was the MD of GIDC and has worked successfully on the Vibrant Gujarat summit.

Hasmukh Adhia, IAS, 1981 batch
Revenue Secretary

Adhia, an IIM–A gold medallist with a PhD in yoga, Adhia was a member of Modi’s core team for almost ten years and principal secretary from 2004 to 2006.

He headed the department of financial services and is credited with preparing the road map for the revamp of state-run banks, besides ending government interference in these entities. He is a no-nonsense officer and is expected to drive the government’s fight against black money and steer implementation of the new law. He was also principal secretary in the education department and is credited with starting the teachers’ training and women’s education programme in Gujarat. Said to enjoy direct access to Modi, Adhia has also authored two motivational books for administrators and bureaucrats.

Amarjit Singh, IAS, 1982 batch
Additional Secretary, Water Resources, River Development

Singh was handpicked by the PM to aid his pet project, Ganga rejuvenation. He has earlier served as UPSC secretary and additional secretary, department of school education and literacy.

Vijay Laxmi Joshi, IAS, 1980 batch
Opted for voluntary retirement

Joshi, secretary in the water resources department, opted for VRS when she was denied a more plum posting, three years before her actual retirement. She had earlier worked as secretary, panchayati raj and as additional secretary in the ministry of commerce. She has had extensive experience in Gujarat as principal secretary, energy, as managing director of Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd and Power Corporation Limited, besides other postings.

Gauri Kumar, IAS, 1979 batch
Secretary(Coordination) Cabinet Secretariat

Kumar was earlier labour secretary. A Harvard graduate, her interesting profile includes working as secretary, border management, under MHA.  She served as collector in Gandhinagar district and was deputy secretary in the department of economic affairs when Manmohan Singh began the process of liberalisation in 1991.

Rita Teotia, IAS, 1981 batch
Commerce Secretary

Teotia has served in various ministries including department of telecommunications and ministry of rural development. Teotia who is said to be well versed with PM Modi’s working style, is well known for her negotiating skills. Her present job has thrown her a challenge to keep multilateralism relevant in the commerce sector and to navigate through impending regional agreements.

Karnal Kumar Dayani, IAS 1990 batch
Empanelled for Joint Secretary

Dayani, a domicile of Rajasthan, has worked on special projects like wooing foreign investors for the big-ticket Vibrant Gujarat summit. He has travelled extensively abroad to popularise Vibrant Gujarat with foreign investors. In 2009, when he was posted with Topno, the two were said to have formed a lethal team in governance.

Achal Kumar Jyoti, Ex-IAS, 1975 batch
Election Commissioner on May 8, 2015

Jyoti is the former chief secretary, Gujarat, and is said to have been hand-picked by the prime minister himself. Jyoti worked as the state’s vigilance commissioner after he retired as the CS of Gujarat in January 2013. He was chairman of the Kandla Port Trust and MD of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd.

Rajiv Takru, IAS, 1979 batch
Secretary, National Commission for Minorities

Takru, as part of DoNEAR, had repeated run-INS with former army chief and MoS V.K. Singh. The bureaucrat had reportedly been drawing Singh’s attention to improper appointments. Meanwhile, the minister added to Takru’s troubles by directly routing files to junior officers without keeping Takru in the loop. He was one of the officers handpicked to work on the general budget by P. Chidambaram when he was finance minister. He had joined the ministry  as an OSD and later elevated as secretary.  

An engineer-turned- bureaucrat, Takru has taught at the IAS Academy in Mussoorie and headed the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT). In Gujarat, Takru worked as a collector in Rajkot and Jamnagar districts, and is said to be straightforward in his approach. He also has a post-graduate degree in police management.

Girish Chandra Murmu, IAS, 1985 batch
Additional Secretary (Expenditure), Finance

Murmu, known as the PM’s right hand man, enjoys not just Modi’s but also BJP president Amit Shah’s trust. Part of Modi’s top team in Gujarat, he has handled cases related to the 2002 riots and the alleged extra-judicial killings of Sohrabuddin and Ishrat Jehan. Murmu worked under Amit Shah as the principal secretary, home, when Shah was in-charge of home affairs in Gujarat. Murmu also held the post of principal secretary to chief minister Modi. He has an MBA degree from the University of Birmingham, UK.

Murmu found himself mired in controversy when his voice was allegedly found on tapes of meetings regarding the Ishrat Jehan fake encounter case and then another in which he was allegedly overheard bullying IPS officer Sreekumar. 

Indian Police Service Officers (IPS)

Vivek Srivastav, IPS, 1989 batch

Srivastav was head of  Intelligence Bureau at Patna when Modi’s rally in Bihar’s capital was attacked by a splinter group of Indian Mujahedeen (IM). He helped nab IM man Yaseen Bhatkal and several Maoist leaders. His last posting was as joint director in IB. In 2002, his district (Kutch) remained incident-free.

Awarded the Police Medal and the President’s Police Medal, he also handled communal riots in Surat in 1992 after the Babri demolition. However, he wasn’t BJP’s favourite man always. For more than 10 years, when Modi was CM of Gujarat, he stayed out of Gujarat on central deputation. In 2002, as SP of Kutch, he had clamped down on Bajrang Dal and the VHP, and was soon side-lined. In 2013, when Modi visited Bihar and a series of blasts rocked Patna, his letter to Bihar police warning about the blasts nailed claims that the Bihar police had had no inputs.

Arun Kumar Sharma, IPS, 1987 batch
Joint Director, CBI for five years

Sharma’s name figured on a CD purporting to have details of discussions between top Gujarat leaders and police officials to botch the investigations into the Ishrat Jehan case, The CD is said to have contained details of meetings between Murmu and Sharma and few other Gujarat ministers and policemen.

Sharma’s name also featured in the alleged snooping on a young woman architect from Bangalore in 2009. It was allegedly ordered by Amit Shah for his ‘saheb’. Sharma is said to be close to Modi.

His deputation is significant at this time because the CBI has probed fake encounters in Gujarat. The fake encounter of Sadiq Jamal Mehtar is still under investigation. Sharma has been with Modi since his days as Gujarat’s CM.

Keshav Kumar, IPS, 1986 batch
Joint Director in the CBI (given a year’s extension)

Kumar was the officer in charge of investigating the poaching of 10 Asiatic lions at the Gir National Park in Gujarat in 2007. Kumar’s forte, it is said, lies in the application of forensics and new investigative techniques. He was awarded the President’s Police Medal for distinguished service in 2012. He was responsible for the creation of the CID Wildlife Crime Cell. He has also been in the Anti-Corruption branch in Mumbai and handled the Economic Offences wing of the agency.

Kumar has also investigated the Adarsh housing society scam and the sensational Bijal Joshi rape case of Ahmedabad. In February 2013, Kumar’s name had cropped up in a strange case: he’d allegedly tried to influence customs officers dealing with one B.M. Sood, previously charged with smuggling, who had got into a skirmish with customs officers on arrival from London. He was posted as IG, Prisons, Gujarat, when he went on deputation to the Centre.

Praveen Sinha, IPS, 1988 batch
Additional Secretary (JS) level, Central Vigilance Commission for 5 years

Sinha’s name hit the headlines when the media reported on crorepati IPS officers in Gujarat. Sinha was one of the many officers who featured in these reports, done by both the national and international press, on officers who were found to be richer than expected. He has been IGP, Rajkot range.

V. Chandrashekhar, IPS, 2000 batch

Chandrashekhar, eleva­ted from SP in the CBI to DIG in 2012, had figured in the list of crorepati IPS officers in Gujarat. But that’s not his only claim to being reported on. In 2009, Chandrashekhar was in the news for reining in hardened criminals ruling the roost at the Sabarmati central jail, a feat his predecessors could only dream of. Chandrashekhar ended up becoming a dreaded figure in the prison campus, which had become infamous for violent outbursts by inmates.

Known to be a no-nonsense officer, Chandrashekhar had also led one of the biggest raids on a gambling rackets run from a resort. He has earlier served as DSP, Bhavnagar, and as a DCP in Ahmedabad. He happens to have a degree in agriculture.

S.G. Bhati, IPS, 1992 batch
Empanelled as Joint Secretary or equivalent along with 104 other officers on December 13, 2014

Bhati is a former Additional Commissioner of Police, of Ahmedabad, and was promoted to be appointed to the post of DIG, CID (Crime), in 2013. He has also been DIG (coastal security and intelligence) in Gujarat. He also served as Additional Police Commissioner (traffic) in Surat.

Gyanendra Singh Malik, IPS, 1993 batch
Empanelled as Joint Secretary or equivalent along with 104 other officers on December 13, 2014

Malik is one of the few bureaucrats in Delhi who has a presence on social media, but he has not gone beyond creating a blogging space for himself. With a page to his name at the    website, Malik is yet to post a blog entry. He is fondly remembered for his stint in Bharuch.

Indian Forest Service Officers (IFS)

A.K. Verma, IFS, 1986 batch
Joint Secretary, in Power ministry on Nov 3, 2014.

Verma is one of the few officers to have a LinkedIn profile. He has been member secretary of the Gujarat Ecology Commission. An IIM Bangalore alumnus, he also has a degree from Syracuse University. 

Jaipal Singh, IFS, 1991 batch
PS to MoS H.P. Chaudhary (in the home ministry)

Singh was earlier a director in the department of higher education. 

Anita Karn, IFS, 1997 batch
Director in Department of Commerce

Karn hit the headlines in 2008 when she became one of the only two women IFS officers working in the forest areas in Gujarat. It was around the same time that the Gir sanctuary employed women as forest guards. After Karn busted a male bastion,  the state government later employed as many as 51 women forest guards and 44 women foresters.

Rajbir Singh Panwar, IFS, 1991 batch
PS to MoS

Mansukhbhai Dhajibhai Vasava (in charge of tribal affairs)

Sanjeev Kumar Singla, IFS, 1997 batch
PS to PM appointed on June 20, 2014

Singla, an Indian Foreign Service officer, has come back from a key Indian Embassy (in Israel) to take the post of PS to PM. Singla’s appointment came close on the heels of another Gujarat cadre officer, Rajeev Topno, joining the PMO. Singla had earlier worked as a director under former foreign secretary Rajan Mathai.

Gujarat Cadre Officers At The Centre Before Modi Became PM

  • Bharat Lal, IFS, 1988 batch, Resident Commissioner, Gujarat Bhawan
  • Ashok Chawla, IAS, 1973 batch, Chairman, Competition Commission of India
  • A. Bhattacharya, IAS, 1982 batch, Chairman, Staff Selection Commission
  • P.K. Mishra, IAS, 1972 batch, Additional Principal Secretary to PM
  • Guruprasad Mohapatra, IAS, 1986 batch, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Commerce
  • A.K. Patnaik, IPS, 1983 batch, Additional Director Intelligence Bureau
  • P.K. Gera, IAS, 1985 batch, Director General, National Institute of Fashion Technology
  • Ashim Khurana, IAS, 1983 batch, Secretary, (UPSC)
  • A.K. Tomar, IPS, 1989 batch, Inspector General, Border Security Force
  • Sarah Rizvi, IPS, 2008 batch, Assistant Director, Intelligence Bureau
  • N.K. Singh, IFS, 1987 batch, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Mines
  • Franklin L. Khobung, Director, Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of AYUSH
  • Asheem Srivastav, IFS, 1982 batch, Member secretary, National Commission for protection of Child’s Rights
  • Amit Kumar, IFS, 1996 batch, Director, land resources in the Ministry of Rural Development

The story's introduction has been edited to correct an error.

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