CM Devendra Fadnavis succeeded where his predecessor Prithviraj Chavan failed. A year after Chavan took charge as the CM, a proposal for the appointment of Mumbai police commissioner came up following Satya Pal Singh’s resignation from the IPS to join BJP. At that time, Chavan wanted to appoint either Javed Ahmad or Vijay Kamble and on several occasions, he held off-the-record talks with a section of scribes to discuss the need to appoint either of the two IPS officers. However, the then home minister R R Patil made it clear that the NCP will prefer none other than Rakesh Maria. After several rounds of talks between leaders of the Congress and NCP, Patil succeeded in appointing Maria as the commissioner. Soon after the Congress-NCP government was dislodged and Fadnavis took charge, there was a debate on whether Maria will continue or will be shunted out. But Fadnavis maintained a silence for a prolonged period despite Maria’s name figuring in a controversy over meeting with Lalit Modi in London. Then it was assumed that the CM will shift him, but Maria got a clean chit after the latter said that he had submitted a note on the interaction. The decision finally came unexpectedly. Fadnavis shifted Maria to the home guards wing of the state police and, in the same breath, appointed Javed Ahmad as the police commissioner, despite the latter being only four months away from retirement. To accommodate Ahmad, the CM upgraded the post of Mumbai CP to the rank of director general. He was also instrumental in Ahmad’s nomination as India’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, a rare assignment for an IPS officer.
Pawar praises quake relief hero
Maratha strongman and former agriculture minister Sharad Pawar unexpectedly showered praise on CM Devendra Fadnavis’s principal secretary Praveen Pardesi. In his biography, On My Terms, released in New Delhi on the occasion of his 75th birthday, Pawar lauded Pardesi’s efforts during the 1994 earthquake tragedy at Killari in Latur. Pawar was told by villagers that Pardesi had been personally involved in the relief operations for days and nights. Says Pawar, Pardesi and his colleagues have “set a fine example” of how public servants should gear up the state apparatus for the benefit of people during a crisis. Following the earthquake, Pawar too was camping in Latur to monitor the rescue operations. As a district collector, Pardesi, an IAS officer of the 1985 batch, was instrumental in successfully implementing the relief and rehab plan drafted by the state administration. In fact, Pardesi was among a large number of officials, who camped in villages for months. Says Pardesi, it was indeed a Herculean task, but it was achieved owing to sustained efforts of one and all. Besides bureaucrats, IPS and revenue officials, all the villagers were involved in the relief operation. After the Latur assignment, there was no looking back for Pardesi, as wherever he was posted—Solapur and Pune as municipal commissioners, Amravati as divisional commissioner and UN assignments, he left a mark. But now, Pardesi, as head of the CM secretariat, is facing a bigger challenge.
After a delay of over a decade, revenue and agriculture minister Eknath Khadse has managed to deliver justice to an official, but that too only after governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao’s intervention. It was a simple administrative dispute, but as the official got no relief from the chief secretary, he had to approach the Raj Bhavan. The governor’s secretariat studied the case and entrusted it to Khadse for disposal. It was found that the official was sent on deputation to a municipal corporation but while he was relived from his original department, he was not allowed to take up the new assignment. After nine months, the official was permitted to join but the gap period was considered as a “break in service” and a departmental probe was initiated for remaining absent without notice. Further, he was held guilty by the inquiry officer. When Khadse heard his case, he immediately set aside the inquiry officer’s findings and restored the official’s services. However, Khadse did not prescribe disciplinary action against the officers who had harassed the victim for such a long period.