In doing so, Shinde over-ruled objections raised by several of his own officers, including Home Secretary R K Singh, who had cited government rules to argue that the officer in question, Deepak Mohan Spolia, currently a Principal Secretary in Delhi government, had been serving for more than the last eight years in Delhi and needed to be transferred, several sources have told The Indian Express.
Spolia is a 1979-batch IAS officer belonging to what is known as the AGMU cadre, or the UT cadre, that serves Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram, Delhi and also the Union territories like Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep and Puducherry. Officers at the senior level, like Spolia, can serve a maximum of three years at one of these places at a stretch, according to the rules.
Unlike other states, the transfers and postings of IAS and IPS officers in the states and UTs falling under the AGMU cadre are decided by the Home Ministry, in consultation with the state governments in the case of senior positions like the chief secretary or the DGP.
Spolia was included in a panel of three names suggested to Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister for the appointment of chief secretary. Out of them, Arunachal picked Spolia and it was endorsed by the Home Ministry. Shinde himself approved the appointment a couple of months ago, sources said.
It is at this point Dikshit intervened and met Shinde at least two times on this issue, sources said.
Diskhit told Newsline her government had requested home officials to retain Spolia in Delhi. “He has about two more years of service left and we wanted to keep him in Delhi. The Home Ministry has been kind enough to have accepted our request,” she said.
Shinde asked his officers to reconsider the decision and re-initiate the file on the transfer of Spolia to Arunachal Pradesh. One of the reasons he cited was the shortage of IAS officers in Delhi government.
This, incidentally is not based on facts. According to information obtained from the Home Ministry, Delhi does not have shortage. As against a sanctioned strength of 56 IAS officers, it currently has 75.
Spolia’s case has highlighted the eagerness of officers to continue to stay in Delhi even after their tenure is over. In fact, a 2010 ‘Guidelines for transfer/posting of IAS/IPS officers of joint AGMU cadre’ acknowledges on its first page that the norms were framed to ensure that “the tendency of some officers to stick to Delhi for years together by bringing extraneous pressures is checked and curbed”.