Finance Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi was set to demit office on Monday, but in an interesting turn of events, he was appointed Home Secretary in the afternoon.

In the normal circumstances, Mehrishi a 1978 batch IAS officer would have retired on August 31 on reaching 60 years, but now with this appointment he will enjoy another two years, as the post of Home Secretary has a fixed tenure.

But, to ensure Mehrishi stays on, the current Home Secretary LC Goyal, had to make way. Goyal’s term ended abruptly almost 17 months ahead of his retirement.

Goyal is the third senior bureaucrat after Anil Goswami, his predecessor, and Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh to exit before the end of his tenure. Goyal was appointed as Home Secretary only this February. Interestingly, Goyal’s predecessor Goswami also opted for voluntary retirement which was accepted with immediate effect and his three-month notice period was also waived.

Secretaries in Home, External Affairs and Defence apart from the Cabinet Secretary have a two-year fixed tenure which could go beyond the age of 60, the age of superannuation.

There are many theories going around Goyal’s exit including one on reported controversies in the Home Ministry surrounding the denial of security clearance to Sun TV owned by the Maran group. There are issues related to an NGO headed by social activist Teesta Setalvad and the Naga accord.

However, Goyal insisted that he was not upset with the government and maintained that his decision to take voluntary retirement was a personal one.

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