BVR sent to Com Ministry; Mehta new CS of J&K; RAW, IB heads get one-year extension

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New Delhi, May 27 (PTI) BVR Subrahmanyam was on Thursday transferred from Jammu and Kashmir and A K Mehta was appointed in his place as the new chief secretary of the union territory by the government which also granted one-year extension to the heads of RAW and Intelligence Bureau, the country's premier intelligence agencies.

According to official orders issued on Thursday, Subrahmanyam, a 1987-batch IAS officer of Chhattisgarh cadre, will come to the Centre as an Officer on Special Duty in the Commerce Ministry and will take over as Secretary, Department of Commerce, upon Anup Wadhawan's superannuation on June 30.

Subrahmanyam had taken over as the chief secretary of Jammu and Kashmir in June 2018, and during his tenure its special status was scrapped in 2019 and the state was bifurcated into two union territories -- Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla informed Lt Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Manoj Sinha that the Appointments' Committee of Cabinet had given its approval to make Mehta, a 1988-batch IAS officer, the new chief secretary, officials said.

' has been decided with the approval of the competent authority that Arun Kumar Mehta...will take over as chief secretary of Jammu and Kashmir from the date that BVR Subrahmanyam relinquishes the charge and until further orders,' the letter to Sinha said.

An official order from the union territory administration was expected soon.

Mehta, who is at present the financial commissioner, had a constant tussle with Subrahmanyam, with the latter even proceeding on protest leave in September last year.

Although now the Jammu and Kashmir cadre has been merged with the AGMUT, Mehta has served in the union territory for long and is seen as a welcome change by officials as he is considered as an insider and aware about the problems.

The government also granted one-year extension to Intelligence Bureau (IB) head Arvind Kumar and country's external intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) chief Samant Goel beyond their current two-year tenure ending on June 30.

Kumar and Goel are experts on Pakistan and had contributed actively in the February 26, 2019 Balakot airstrike on Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camps across the Line of Control.

A 1984-batch IPS officer of the Assam-Meghalaya cadre, Kumar has served on important desks in the IB, including Kashmir and Left Wing Extremism, while Goel, also of the same batch but from the Punjab cadre, has served on the Pakistan desk and on groups working against the interest of country from Europe.

The extensions were cleared by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Apart from designated charters such as Kashmir and Left Wing Extremism, Kumar has spent much time in planning operations and strategic moves in certain insurgency areas in the North East.

Kumar is a recipient of the President's Police Medal for Distinguished Service.

Goel looked after the security of the Punjab chief minister in 2000 and 2001, besides holding other important posts both in his state cadre and at the Centre.

Goel is considered an expert on issues related to the Punjab militancy and Pakistan, and has played an important role in checking militancy in the state during the 1990s.

He is a recipient of the Police Medal for Gallantry and the Police Medal for Meritorious Service, and joined RAW in March 2001. PTI SKL AAR AAR

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