Mehrishi new Home Secy as Goyal bows out

Jaswinder Singh Baidwan

Akhran da mureed
Staff member
The government today appointed Rajiv Mehrishi as the new Union Home Secretary, while RP Watal was made the Finance Secretary.
Incumbent Union Home Secretary LC Goyal, who was just seven months into his two-year tenure, has taken voluntary retirement. Rajiv Mehrishi, a 1978-batch Rajasthan cadre officer, has taken his place.
Watal, who took over as the Finance Secretary, is a 1978-batch Andhra Pradesh cadre officer. Meanwhile, Shaktikanta Das, 58, took over as the Secretary for the Department of Economic Affairs; Hasmukh Adhia took over as the new Revenue Secretary; while Sunil Arora, another Rajasthan cadre officer, assumed charge as the Secretary in the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.
The exit of LC Goyal clearly stems from a mix of political one-upmanship and Goyal’s differences of opinion with the government. In bureaucratic circles, his exit is being seen as “sacking”. Goyal today said he quit on his own and clarified
that he did not have any health issue.
The sensitive case involving Maran brothers, owners of Sun TV group, of Tamil Nadu is being seen as one of the reasons behind LC Goyal’s exit. The Home Ministry had blocked the Marans from participating in the auction for FM radio licences, questioning the company’s source of funding. Sun TV’s promoters, former Union Minister Dayanidhi Maran and his brother Kalanithi Maran are being probed by investigative agencies for alleged money laundering and corruption.
Mehrishi assumed the charge this evening. He is the third person to be the Home Secretary in the Modi government. He is seen as a handpicked man of Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. He was drafted at the Centre in October 2014 from being the Chief Secretary of Rajasthan. In other words, he is Modi’s own man in Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s ministry, indicating a more direct control by the PM.
In Mehrishi’s appointment, the government has defied a trend. It usually prefers to appoint as the Home Secretary an officer who has earlier served in the ministry in some capacity. Mehrishi has served at the Centre, but not in the Home Ministry.
Mehrishi, working as the Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, so far, was to retire today on attaining the age of 60 years. He has been now appointed the Home Secretary for two years from today.
Goyal has been apopointed chairman and managing director of the India Trade Promotion Organisation.
Goyal is the third officer to face premature exit under the Modi government so far.
Rajiv Takru was removed from the post of Revenue Secretary in June 2014, while Arvind Mayaram was removed in October 2014. Foreign Secretary Sujata Singh’s tenure was cut short, while Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami opted for “voluntary retirement” in January and February, respectively, this year.
Goyal was appointed the Home Secretary on February 5 this year after Goswami was asked to leave over his alleged act of calling up the police to go “soft” on a person wanted in the Saradha chit fund scam.