New Delhi, Feb 21 (IANS) Bhaskar Khulbe, a key aide to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is making a comeback to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) as a case by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) appears to have been closed.
A 1983 batch West Bengal cadre IAS officer, Khulbe in July last year had quit as Secretary to Prime Minister after completion of his extended six month tenure.
After retirement from service, he was on Friday was back at the centre of the government as Modi’s advisor.
Kulbe has been appointed to the post along with his also retired batchmate Amarjeet Sinha, of the Bihar cadre after the Appointment Committee of the Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister gave its approval for the selection of the two officers for the job.
The CBI was investigating the role of Khulb, in the allotment of coal blocks to a Bengal-based company. At the time, Khulbe was Advisor, Industries to the West Bengal government.
There had been speculation over the continuation of Khulbe in the PMO following the CBI case against him. The return has ignited talk that the CBI case seems to have been closed.
Khulbe’s return to PMO marks the return of the old team of P.K. Mishra, Principal Secretary, PMO and Khulbe who was handling appointments in the PMO.
With the return of Khulbe, Prime Minister Modi is adding heft to his office at a time when the economy is in shambles and the ruling party has suffered electoral reverses in several states in the last one year.
As Ssecretary in the PMO, Khulbe has been one of Modi’s most trusted aides and most powerful bureaucrats in the administration. He handled all transfers and postings of Central officials, working closely with P.K. Mishra.
While Mishra is Principal Secretary, P.K. Sinha is Principal Adviser in the PMO. Amarjeet Sinha was in the Department of Rural Development as Secretary before his retirement.
This is apparently to boost and monitor the rural development sector, which now has one of the largest budgets amongst all ministries. With four years to go in the government, PM Modi is keen to give a push to the sector.