I.Y.R. Krishna Rao who was tipped to succeed him goes on protest leave

Chief Secretary P. K. Mohanty has been given extension of service for four months, though the formal orders are awaited, on the day of his superannuation on Friday, despite his reported unwillingness to hold on to the post after his retirement.

In a surprise move, the Union Government decided to continue Mr. Mohanty in the post till the process of bifurcation of the State was completed after the latter attended a meeting convened by the Union Home Ministry in Delhi on February 26.

Mr. Mohanty’s continuation in the post did not go down well with Chief Commissioner of Land Administration I. Y. R. Krishna Rao, a strong aspirant to succeed him. Within hours of the announcement, he went on leave for 10 days protesting the reasons apparently cited for granting extension to Mr. Mohanty.

Ahead of demitting office on Friday, the Chief Secretary had set in motion the preliminary exercise on division by constituting several sub-committees to look into distribution of employees, assets and liabilities of Andhra Pradesh.

In normal course, the Chief Minister takes a decision on giving extension or selecting the successor to the Chief Secretary. But, resignation of N. Kiran Kumar Reddy as the Chief Minister on February 19 and the Centre preferring to go for President’s rule seemed to have led to uncertainty. Mr. Reddy was not attending to official work despite being named the caretaker Chief Minister.

Going by the set procedure, the General Administration Department prepared a panel of senior IAS officials eligible to succeed Mr. Mohanty and Mr. Krishna Rao emerged as the hot favourite. Speculation about imposition of President’s Rule left the GAD in a fix on where the file should be sent. Once it became clear that President’s Rule would be imposed, the Union Home Secretary is said to have prevailed on the Home Minister to continue the Chief Secretary in the same post for four more months.

The Prime Minister’s office too cleared the proposal and the Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh, who was in the city met the Governor E.S.L.Narasimhan and conveyed Centre’s decision.

Sources said that being an outsider, Mr. Mohanty was favoured over Mr. Krishna Rao to preside over the State bifurcation process rather than bringing an IAS officer who either belonged to Telangana or Seemandhra region.