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Mumbai, Apr 26: BMC Commissioner Johny Joseph, said to be Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh’s blue-eyed bureaucrat, will in all likelihood be the next chief secretary of the state. The incumbent DK Sankaran is set to retire on April 30.

If appointed, Johny Joseph will supersede at least five officers – three of whom are on deputation, including AK Dua, Rani Jadhav and Charusheela Sohoni. Others are Chitkala Zutshi, who heads general administration and home secretary AP Sinha. Chief secretary D K Sankaran had created a minor stir by superseding seven officers. It is learnt that Zutshi has made a presentation that she is the seniormost and has the merit.

A woman IAS has never been appointed chief secretary in the state. Recently, women bureaucrats stepped up a campaign to appoint a woman as chief secretary. They insisted they were fighting for gender justice and not an out-of-turn favour. From all available indications, however, Deshmukh is not keen on a woman chief secretary. A senior officer close to CM said on condition of anonymity, “It has nothing to do with the gender. It does no  way reflect on the competence of a woman IAS officer.”

There will be another incumbent waiting to take charge as BMC commissioner. Officer of the ‘78 cadre, urban development principal secretary Jairaj Phatak is the front-runner.


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