After her husband, now his wife and 1987 batch IAS officer Vini Mahajan has superseded many senior IAS offices and took over as first woman Chief Secretary of Punjab. She replaced controversial Karan Avtar Singh, who had a showdown with Punjab ministers over hundreds of crores of excise revenue scam.
Mahajan has superseded five senior IAS officers including KBS Sidhu (1984), Arun Goel, C Roul, Kalpana Baruah Mittal and Satish Chandra (all four from 1985). Sidhu is senior-most and he will retire in July 2021 and he was considered to the front runner as both Goel and Roul are presently on central deputation while remaining two are already on important positions in Punjab government.
It has caused heartburn among senior IAS officers, who have taken it as an insult because Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh and his team have once again preferred to appoint an officer as per their choice rather than going as per norms and seniority. Many strongly believe that since CM has been facing problems due to lobbying in IAS officers, he wanted to send a strong message that he is supreme, thus he has appointed a junior IAS officer as CS.
Earlier the 1987 batch IPS officer Dinkar Gupta, husband of CS Mahajan, had superseded his five seniors including 1984-batch officers Samant Goyal, law and order Hardeep Dhillon, 1985-batch officer Mohd Mustafa, 1986-batch officers DGP (internal vigilance cell) Harminder Singh and DGP (PSPCL) Sidharth Chattopadhyaya to become DGP of Punjab. Since the appointment of Gupta as DGP, the division at the top level in Punjab police has got more visible as senior IPS officers are unwilling to report to their junior.
Like police, the appointment of junior IAS officer as CS will create more problems as senior IAS officers are unlikely to cooperate with their junior by sitting on lower positions. Since both DGP and CS are two most important positions in state, the appointments of both officers by superseding their seniors, point towards the collapse of merit in state.