Lucknow: Shashank Shekhar Singh, ex-Cabinet Secretary of Uttar Pradesh during former CM Mayawati’s regime, passed away at Max Hospital in New Delhi on Wednesday night. Shashank, who was considered very close to Mayawati, was reportedly suffering from cancer.

Shashank was the first ever non-IAS officer to hold the post of the state’s Cabinet Secretary. At the same time, he was also the last ever officer, who was sacked from his position when Samajwadi Party government assumed charge in 2012. The SP government abolished the post of the Cabinet Secretary and restored the powers of Chief Secretary.

Shashank Shekhar was well-known for his aggressive style of functioning. However, his stature underwent resurrection after 2007 when Mayawati government came to power and he became the most heavyweight bureaucrat in the state.

It is said that Shashank called most of the shots under BSP regime and such was his influence that even senior ministers had to wait for him to get their jobs done.

Later, a petition was filed in the Supreme Court regarding his appointment as Cabinet Secretary questioning how a non-IAS could be appointed to the position.

Though Shashank was due to retire on May 31, 2010, Maywati extended his service tenure by two more years.

Shashank Shekhar was a pilot by profession. When VP Singh was the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh in 80s, Shashank was deputed as an Authorized Aircraft Pilot.