Mumbai: Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Sitaram Kunte, IAS 1985 batch, is set to become the next chief secretary of Maharashtra, after the incumbent Sanjay Kumar’s term ends on February 28. Kunte, along with his batchmate and former Brihanmumbai Municipal Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi, were in the fray. Both will retire in December 2021.
Pardeshi, who has left on a foreign assignment after being removed as the BMC commissioner and being posted as the additional chief secretary (urban development) in May 2020, had lobbied heavily for the post. However, according to Maha Vikas Aghadi government sources, Pardeshi’s sudden decision to opt for an overseas assignment went against him.
A senior minister scoffed at reports that the Nationalist Congress Party was blocking Kunte’s elevation, saying that as the then BMC chief, Pardeshi had made efforts in January 2020, to get the CS post.
Sources said the ruling partners Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress had considered Kunte as a serious contender, given his clean track record and no-nonsense style of functioning. ‘‘After Sanjay Kumar, who was additional chief secretary (home), was appointed chief secretary, it was obvious that Kunte, then the additional chief secretary (general administration), should have been immediately posted as the additional chief secretary (home). However, the government initially gave him additional charge and later, made him in-charge of home. Kunte’s appointment order will be issued on Saturday so that he can take over on Sunday, on the eve of the budget session,’’ he added.
Kunte has held various posts, including those of Principal Secretary (Finance), BMC Commissioner, Principal Secretary (Planning) & Development Commissioner and Secretary (Housing).