IAS officer Sameer Sharma was appointed Chief Secretary in place of Aditya Nath Das, who superannuates on September 30, ending the speculation on who would be the state’s top bureaucrat.
Sharma, a 1985 batch officer, is special chief secretary, planning. He was earlier the municipal commissioner of Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada and Hyderabad. He was also managing director of the India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) and director general and CEO of the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs.
He also worked as consultant for the UN-Habitat in Cambodia and the International Federation of Red Cross Societies in his 37-year career. Interestingly, Aditya Nath Das was two years junior to Sharma.
Sharma is expected to retire in two months, at the end of November. Sources said the state government would likely seek an extension of tenure for him. Sharma can continue for a maximum period of six months in two spells, if AP Chief Minister Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy so decides.
If the CM decides otherwise, there are four senior IAS officers at the head of the list in terms of seniority — Ajay Sawhney, husband of former CS Neelam Sawhney, presently in the central services on deputation; Reddy Subrahmanyam; Satish Chandra and Neerabh Kumar Prasad. All four have less than a year to their retirement.
According to sources, Jaganmohan Reddy might prefer senior IAS officer Y. Srilakshmi of the 1988 batch as Chief Secretary. Srilakshmi is currently a special chief secretary rank officer who is looking after municipal administration and urban development.
It may be recalled that she was named in CBI cases related to Jaganmohan Reddy and mining baron Gali Janardhan Reddy and had been arrested. She was working in the Telangana cadre but her to the AP cadre had been secured last year, where she got quick promotions.
Sources stated that the CM might prefer Srilakshmi as the CS after Sharma’s retirement, if there are no legal hurdles for her appointment.