PMO set for a shuffle, new faces likely


New Delhi : The Prime Minister’s Office is headed for a makeover with senior IAS officer Pulok Chatterjee, a former private secretary to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, set to join it as secretary.

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Chatterjee, a 1974-batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) Officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre, is returning after a stint with the World Bank. He is likely to replace M.N. Prasad, who is said to be joining the World Bank, according to well-placed sources.

Chatterjee, considered a confidant of Sonia Gandhi, is being brought in to enhance coordination between the PMO and the Congress chief at a time when the Manmohan Singh government is fighting corruption charges and is facing an image problem.

He is expected to take charge Oct 1.

Chatterjee’s proximity to the Gandhi family goes back to days when he was district magistrate in Rae Bareli, the Gandhi stronghold.

Chatterjee served as secretary in the PMO before he headed to Washington for the World Bank job in 2008. His name was also being mentioned for the post of cabinet secretary, but the government finally decided to appoint Ajit K. Seth to the top bureaucratic job.

The changes in the PMO could also include an additional secretary, three joint secretaries and four director-level officials making way for new entrants.

Pankaj Saran, a senior IFS officer, is on his way out for a diplomatic posting.

Sudhakar Dalela, who is currently serving as director in the PMO, is headed for a posting in the Indian embassy in Washington, said sources.

Sanjay Mitra, currently a joint secretary in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s team, is likely to move to West Bengal.