J&K chief secretary decides to step down

Srinagar, Aug 25 (IANS) Jammu and Kashmir chief secretary Muhammad Iqbal Khandey on Tuesday decided to quit as the seniormost bureaucrat of the state reportedly over differences with the ruling alliance.

“Yes, Khandey has decided to step down as the chief secretary of the state and he is submitting his papers for voluntary retirement,” sources close to the bureaucrat told IANS here,

An IAS officer of the 1978 batch, Khandey was made the chief secretary of Jammu and Kashmir on February 18, 2013 during the National Conference-Congress ruling alliance headed by the then chief minister Omar Abdullah.

Speculation about Khandey’s differences with the political dispensation had come to light immediately after Mufti Muhammad Sayeed headed Peoples Democratic Party-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance formed the government in March.

Media speculation had run high on August 21 about Khandey’s differences with the government when he did not attend the state cabinet meeting.

The chief secretary has to attend the cabinet meetings as part of duties. But sources close to Khandey said he was on leave on August 21 because of the death of his brother’s grandson.

Sources also said Khandey had requested for a day’s deferment of the cabinet meeting because of his bereavement, but that was turned down which brought things to a dead end.

Khandey was otherwise scheduled to retire in November.

The second senior-most IAS officer in the state, B.R. Sharma, is likely to replace Khandey as the new chief secretary.

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