Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed Tuesday returned to Valley after spending more than a week outside state reportedly in connection with his routine health check-up. Soon after reaching to Srinagar, Mufti went straight to home to meet his family. Immediately after he drove to civil secretariat where he took meeting with senior bureaucrats to get firsthand account of the state’s affairs following the former chief secretary Iqbal Khanday calling it quits from service on Monday. In the afternoon, the Chief Minister called home all top civil and police officers to discuss some important matters including that of the appointment of new chief secretary. The senior bureaucrats who are frontrunners to Chief Secretary’s position include Dr. Arun Kumar, Financial Commissioner Revenue, Ms. Sonali Kumar, Chairperson J&K Special Tribunal, Ashok Kumar Angurana, who is on deputation to GoI, Khurshid A Ganai, Financial Commissioner, Industries and Commerce, and B.R. Sharma, Principal Secretary, Planning and Development Department. As Chief Minister has the constitutional authority to appoint any senior bureaucrat as the chief secretary of the state according to rules, sources meanwhile said that the name of Dr. Arun Kumar has emerged as a favourite choice of the government owing to his seniority. Kumar, who in 2008 as CEO Amarnath Shrine Board and Principal Secretary to then Governor Lt. General (Retired) S.K. Sinha, created a full-blown controversy by confirming to media that the land transfer was “permanent” and legitimate as the shrine board is a state body. It was on this controversy over the land transfer to shrine board that PDP pulled out from then PDP-Congress coalition government led by Ghulam Nabi Azad.
2015 Kashmir Despatch