Wealthy Gulati appointed Gujarat energy boss

Vol 19, PW 21 (30 Jun 16) People & Policy

JN Singh, GSPC managing director, will be pleased he is now reporting to somebody of his rank - Sujit Gulati who took charge of the Gujarat energy and petrochemicals department on June 22.

Gulati is an additional chief secretary unlike his predecessor L. Chuaungo, who was only a principal secretary and has been shifted to the comparatively low profile labour and employment department.

Why Chuaungo was moved out is a mystery but some speculate it might have been on Singh's instigation because he felt uncomfortable reporting to a junior officer. Gulati on the other hand is not only of Singh's rank - he also has considerably more money, important in status-conscious India.

A Right to Information application in 2012 disclosed that Gulati was the richest IAS officer in Gujarat with assets worth over Rs5.15cr ($774,000) and an income of Rs20 lakh/year ($30,000) from other sources - all legal of course. This data was contained in an Immovable Property (IP) Return filed by IAS officers in December 2011.

Gulati was one of 30 senior IAS officers transferred in Gujarat on June 22, 2016 under a major reshuffle. His only previous energy department experience was an 18-month stint as deputy secretary from 1992 to 1994.

Some speculate Gulati, who is close to Narendra Modi, has been moved to Gujarat's energy department in preparation for a Delhi assignment.