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By the Way

Change of fortunes

When Madhya Pradesh Congress leaders Kamal Nath, Digvijaya Singh and Jyotiraditya Scindia were watching the Assembly poll results on television at the PCC office in Bhopal with baited breath–with each seat being fought bitterly till late into the night on December 11–just about two kilometres away, a senior IAS officer was fervently praying at his home in Char Imli for a Congress victory. Involved in politico-legal-administrative battle for close to 14 years, this sharp and hardworking civil servant was banking upon his former boss Digvijaya Singh to change his stars. It was Singh’s Inter-Corporate Deposit (ICD) scheme that got many officers into trouble after the Congress lost power in 2003.

Better known as the ICD scam of the industries department, it ruined the career of one officer, almost! Meet Sudhi Ranjan Mohanty, a 1982-batch officer and the stormy petrel of MP bureaucracy. Once superseded by Shivraj Singh Chouhan in 2016 when BP Singh (IAS 1984 batch) was made the Chief Secretary, Mohanty has now reached the pinnacle of his career with Nath installing him as the Chief Secretary upon Singh’s retirement on January 1, 2019, clearly under the influence of Singh. This despite a CAT order of December 2018 that had categorically asked the state government to inquire into Mohanty’s role in the industry loan scam that Uma Bharti had exposed as CM in 2004. Mohanty was the MD of the MPSIDC when loans were disbursed without collateral security to a chosen industrialist. The Economic Offence Wing (EOW) had filed an FIR against Mohanty, among others, in 2004. In 2005, Chouhan sacked Chief Secretary Vijay Singh for supporting Mohanty, a kind of move that MP had not seen in many decades. Since then, Mohanty had been running from pillar to post to get himself a clean chit. The wheel has come a full circle now with Mohanty becoming the boss of MP bureaucracy for the next one-and-a-half years.

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