Srinagar: Although chief secretary Iqbal Khandey cited personal reasons behind his request for voluntary retirement, it has been learnt that his relations with the government soured when he was sidelined during the constitution of the Public Service Commission and elevation of a few junior officers to higher ranks while disregarding seniors.
An official in chief secretary’s office, requesting anonymity, said Khandey wanted an officer of chief secretary’s rank to head the PSC, but the government paid no heed to his suggestion. The PSC was constituted in March after the PDP-BJP coalition assumed office.
The Omar Abdullah-led coalition had recommended finance commissioner industries and commerce Khurshid A Ganai to head the panel for the PSC.
“Khandey too wanted Ganai to head the panel but the government didn’t take him on board. That’s why the PSC panel was framed and reframed after the governor raised objections over some members,” the official said.
Also, it was learnt that Khandey had objected to the transfer of a few officials, arguing that such transfers would hit administrative affairs. He wanted to retain commissioner secretary general admiration department Mohammad Ashraf Bukhari, who was transferred to agriculture production department.
Similarly, a junior-ranking officer Altaf Ajaz Andrabi was promoted as director agriculture after being confirmed as agriculture extension officer. Interestingly, Andrabi was joint director but his three senior officers— Jitender Sharma, who had been in charge director agriculture for three months; Mubarak Reshi and Ghulam Hassan Guroo—had been sidelined.
Two of the trio had submitted a written protest to the government.
“It all happened in Khandey’s absence and he was very much against promoting juniors over seniors,” source said.
In the recent cabinet meet, which was held in Khandey’s absence, Peerzada Hafizullah Shah was posted as additional registrar cooperatives societies while his junior and former deputy commissioner Baramullah Mushtaq Ahmad Shah was posted as registrar cooperative societies.
Shah was posted as DC Baramulla in the current government, but was shifted prematurely.
Also, several officers of the KAS cadre were attached with the GAD despite the fact that several officers are already holding additional charge.
“The CS didn’t approve the transfer of some officials but the government went ahead. So within the dispensation, tension was brewing up for sometime and Khandey’s exit was not an overnight decision. The government’s convening the cabinet meet in Khandey’s absence also gives an indication how the relationship between the two was,” a senior officer while pleading anonymity said.