The appointment of new Lt Governor for the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir is sure to render heartburn to many. ‘Tehelka’ will be the much referred magazine in coming few days.
IAS officer Girish Chandra Murmu has been appointed as the Lt Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, according to an official spokesperson.
Girish Chandra Murmu is a 1985-batch IAS officer who currently holds the post of Expenditure Secretary in the finance ministry.
Girish Chandra Murmu was principal secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his tenure as CM of Gujarat. He is considered to be a close confidante of the prime minister and thus held key administrative positions in Gujarat.
The two Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh will come into existence on October 31 . The Modi government had on August 5 abrogated provisions of Article 370 that granted a special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
He was known to be close to then Chief Minister Narendra Modi and then State Home Minister Amit Shah. Murmu, had enjoyed their confidence in equal measure.
A 1985-batch IAS officer with a reputation for industriousness, Murmu is currently special secretary in the revenue department.
Girish Chandra Murmu is used to being in the thick of things. He served as Modi’s principal secretary in the Chief Minister’s Office and played a key role in advising him and Shah at critical junctures in their political careers.
“He had an enviable command over legal strategy and advised both during crucial cases against them,” one of his peer had said. Many in Gujarat’s bureaucratic circles saw him as the “legal backbone” of Modi and Shah, overseeing their litigation and advising them both from his vantage point in the state home department.
In fact, there was a short period when Murmu, who comes from Sundargarh, Odisha and holds a Master’s degree from Utkal University, Bhubaneswar and an MBA from the University of Birmingham, was part of a group of powerful bureaucrats who ruled the roost in the state government.
No surprise, his proximity to two of the country’s most powerful politicians has also attracted controversy. In 2013, he was questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with the alleged fake encounter case involving the killing of the Ishrat Jahan and three others who were said to be accused of being involved in a plot to assassinate Modi.
That year, Tehelka magazine reported on an audio recording in the hands of the CBI between then junior home minister Praful Patel, senior law officer Kamal Trivedi and two others along with Murmu (then additional principal secretary), in which the participants had allegedly discussed ways to cover up the crime.
And in time it has been proven how the Congress Communist nexus had planned to end the political career of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. Girish Chandra Murmu was someone who was with them during those challenging days.
Murmu, however, retains the confidence of Modi and Shah because he does not carry with him the arrogance that comes with his access to power.
In fact, he is also known to be approachable and very down-to-earth. However, his colleagues says, his disarming demeanour masks a shrewd mind for which no task is hard. May be this is the reason he has be chosen as the Lt Governor of the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir which could use his tactical approach over come many issues. And,
His a ility to carry work any work without turning back probably explains why Murmu came to Delhi soon after Modi became prime minister. In 2015, he was appointed joint secretary in the department of expenditure, He was appointed special secretary in the revenue department in 2017.
Another bureaucrat had said “He is known to get things done. Though he keeps a low profile, he is definitely the go-to man for the top bosses.”
How will be the structure of new Union territory:
The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir will have a Lieutenant Governor and the maximum strength of its assembly will be 107, which will be enhanced to 114 after a delimitation exercise.
Twenty-four seats of the Assembly will continue to remain vacant as they fall under Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
Powers of the Lieutenant Governor:
All India Services like the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and the Indian Police Service (IPS), and the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) will be under the control of the Lt Governor and not the elected government of the UT of J&K.
Common high court for the UTs:
On and from the appointed day, that is October 31, when the two newly created UTs will come into existence, the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir shall be the common high court for the UTs of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
Meanwhile, IAS officer Radha Krishna Mathur has been appointed the Lieutenant Governor of the Union Territory of Ladakh.
The incumbent governor of the state, Satya Pal Malik, has been moved to Goa, a Rashtrapati Bhawan statement said.
Dr Sindhu Prashanth