Ajit Kumar Seth, an IAS officer of the 1974 batch from the Uttar Pradesh cadre has been appointed the new Union cabinet secretary.
The announcement was made hurriedly to avoid an embarrassment to the government after speculation that the incumbent KM Chandrasekhar, who retires next month, would get a fourth extension.
Senior officials questioned the timing of the announcement, which comes when the prime minister is on a visit to Ethiopia. On Tuesday there was talk of a delegation of secretaries who would meet the principal secretary to the prime minister, TKA Nair, to protest against Chandrasekhar getting an extension.
Since the issue became too volatile, the PMO decided to announce AK Seth as the cabinet secretary.