D S Dhesi back in Haryana CMO as Khattar’s chief principal secretary

Dhesi's appointment as CPS/CM holds stark similarity to the neighbouring state of Punjab where Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh appointed his confidant 1983-batch IAS officer Suresh Kumar by creating the same post of CPS/CM.

Haryana cadre 1982-batch IAS officer D S Dhesi is back in the chief minister’s office as Manohar Lal Khattar’s chief principal secretary, a post created for the first time in Haryana. Dhesi’s appointment as CPS/CM holds stark similarity to the neighbouring state of Punjab where Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh appointed his confidant 1983-batch IAS officer Suresh Kumar by creating the same post of CPS/CM.

Although a single-bench of Punjab and Haryana High Court in January 2018 had quashed Suresh Kumar’s appointment, calling it “unconstitutional”, and ruling that Kumar was “holding the public office without authority”, Punjab filed a Letter Patents Appeal (LPA) and the division bench of the High Court had put a stay on the single-bench’s order in February, 2018. Suresh Kumar continues to hold the post while the case challenging his appointment and Punjab government defending it is pending in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

After retiring as Haryana’s chief secretary in June, 2019, Dhesi was appointed as chairman, Haryana Electricity Regulatory Commission (HERC) in August 2019. He resigned from HERC, Sunday, and was appointed as CPS/CM, Monday.

“The Governor of Haryana is pleased to appoint D S Dhesi, IAS (retired) as chief principal secretary to chief minister, Haryana against a newly created post in terms of the concurrence of finance department, with immediate effect. The terms and conditions of his appointment shall be issued later on,” the orders issued by Vijai Vardhan, Haryana chief secretary, read. Soon after his appointment orders were issued, Dhesi met Khattar at his residence.

Dhesi and Khattar share an old rapport. When BJP came to power for the first time in Haryana in October 2014 Assembly polls and Khattar became the chief minister, Dhesi was appointed Haryana’s 32nd chief secretary on December 1, 2014. Before coming back to Haryana in 2014, Dhesi was on central deputation since 2010. He had worked as additional secretary in Union ministry of commerce and also held the additional charge of CMD of Metals and Minerals Trading Corporation of India Ltd.

Dhesi, who comes back to the CMO, is likely to hold the same charge as Rajesh Khullar was holding as principal secretary to chief minister. Khullar has been appointed as executive director, World Bank, and shall be posted in Washington for a term of five years, beginning November 1.

However, there was speculation that Khattar may appoint another IAS officer in Khullar’s place as principal secretary to chief minister, who will be junior to Dhesi.

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