Vini Mahajan, one of the most influential bureaucrats in Indian Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and 1987 batch Punjab cadre IAS, will remain at the power centre of Delhi at least till April 2012. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet on October 12, 2011, approved “further extension of Central deputation tenure” of Ms Vini Mahajan as joint secretary in the PMO by six months beyond October 29, 2011.
Significantly, it is not a conditional extension unlike in case of four senior IPS officers of elite Special Protection Group. On August 8, 2011, four SPG officers at the rank of Inspector General of Police were given extensions of seven months to one year on conditions that “no further extension would be considered”. The order said “operational needs and sensitivity of the job” were the reasons for giving them extensions up to eight years. The police officers who got conditional extensions included Sudeep Lakhtakia of Andhra Pradesh cadre, Ram Phal Pawar of West Bengal cadre and SL Thaosen of Madhya Pradesh cadre --- all of whom have been with the SPG from the beginning of the UPA-I. The SPG is an elite force meant for protection of the Prime Minister of India and other VVIPs.
Vini Mahajan has been on Central deputation from April, 2004 just a month before the UPA-I took charge. She was then a director in finance ministry. But in June 2005 she was shifted to PMO where she was first a director, and then a joint secretary. A post graduate in management and diploma holder on infrastructure in market economy from an US university, Ms Mahajan is considered to be an asset in the PMO.
Ms Mahajan came into news recently when a finance ministry note dated March 2011 dragging P Chidambaram into the 2G scam came into the public domain through an RTI application. The note, dated March 25, 2011 was signed by finance ministry’s deputy director Dr PGS Rao and was reportedly sent to PMO’s Vini Mahajan. Finance minister Prabnab Mukherjee later clarified and distanced himself from a few lines mentioning about current home minister P Chidambaram.
Action and Appointments
a) The ACC has approved the extension of inter-cadre deputation tenure of Yeshi Tsering, a 1983 batch Assam cadre IAS from Assam-Meghalaya to AGMUT cadre (Arunachal Pradesh) for a further period of one year beyond February 19, 2011.
b) The UP government said that the allegations made by IAS officer Promilla Shankar are “baseless and irresponsible”. According to am UP government spokesperson, Shankar went abroad without due sanction of leaves and that cost her job. But Ms Shankar wrote to the Centre saying that UP government suspended her just eight days after she mentioned flaws in the master plan of the Yamuna Expressway Authority.