Punjab gets its first woman Chief Secy

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Written by Kanchan Vasdev | Chandigarh | Published: June 27, 2020 2:35:57 am

With Vini Mahajan’s husband Dinkar Gupta being the Punjab DGP, the power couple now heads the state’s civil and police administration. PTI

Vini Mahajan, a 1987-batch IAS officer, on Friday became the first woman bureaucrat in the history of Punjab to be elevated to the top post of the state’s Chief Secretary. With her elevation it is also for the first time in Punjab’s history that both the civil and police administrations in the state are headed by an IAS-IPS couple. Mahajan is the wife of state DGP Dinkar Gupta.

Mahajan took charge as the new Chief Secretary on Friday replacing Karan Avtar Singh, who has now been posted as Special Chief Secretary, Governance Reforms and Public Grievances. The orders announcing Mahajan’s elevation were awaited for over a week. Considered close to the CM among the state’s bureaucrats, Mahajan was tipped to be the CS for the past couple of days.

While some had claimed that her husband Dinkar Gupta’s assignment as DGP may come in the way of her being elevated, it was counter-argued that an officer could not be denied an opportunity because her spouse was holding an important position the government.

While Karan Avtar Singh was set to retire on August 31, Mahajan has succeeded him two months prior to that. CM Amarinder Singh had backed him to the hilt last month when he was embroiled in a row for alleged “misbehavior” with Cabinet ministers. The ministers had sought that he should be ousted. The CM had, however, thrown his weight behind him.

Sources in the government said that Karan Avtar Singh is likely to be absorbed in the government after his retirement in August.
He is learnt to have applied for the post of Chairperson of Punjab Water Regulatory Authority. The committee that would finalise the appointment is to be headed by the Chief Secretary.

The new Chief Secretary, Vini Mahajan, meanwhile, has superseded five IAS officers senior to her and has affected the chances of elevation of a batch-mate, Viswajeet Khanna.

While Mahajan is a 1987-batch IAS officer she is youngest of all six colleagues and retires in October, 2024. The five IAS officers, who Mahajan she has superseded, include a 1984-batch K B S Sidhu, and four 1985-batch officers.

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