Babu of Delhi

Under a cloud 

These are clearly not happy days for the public sector Nalco. Apart from coming under fire from the now-feared Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) for what has been termed as “governance deficit”, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has been looking at the company. Nalco has now lost its acting Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) B.L. Bagra, who like his predecessor A.K. Srivastava, went out under a cloud of bribery allegations. Apparently the CVC has found Bagra to be connected in a lime slurry procurement contract, causing a loss of Rs 15 crore to the company. Bagra has been relieved even though he has two years before his superannuation. He has been replaced by Anshuman Das, who was director (commercial).
Quite clearly Nalco hasn’t been lucky in finding a full time CMD for the last 11 years. No permanent CMD has been able to occupy the post for more than two years. Other officials who have had the same fate include S.N. Johri, S.K. Tamotia and C. Venkataraman.

No more hiccups? 

Those who followed goings-on at the Prasar Bharati during former CEO B.S. Lalli’s tenure and his ignominious exit after a protracted legal tussle are now wondering what’ll happen after the transfer of Arun Kumar Jain, Member, Finance, in the Prasar Bharati Board, to the Union Home Ministry in the rank of Additional Secretary. He has been appointed advisor in the Inter-State Council Secretariat. It was Jain’s disclosures that led to Lalli’s ouster.
Similarly, another senior IAS officer, Rajiv Takru, Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Information nd Broadcasting, who was a government nominee on the Prasar Bharati Board, has been moved to the Health Ministry. Apparently the two IAS officers didn’t see eye to eye on many issues. It is now hoped that with both babus moving on, rivalries will take a backseat and the board can concentrate on its actual task of managing the broadcaster smoothly.

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Babus in spat 

Officially they may not be babus, but they do represent important arms of the country’s financial structure. The recent rather public spat between deputy RBI Governor K.C. Chakrabarty and State Bank of India Chairman Pratip Chaudhuri does underline the turf war that is being waged silently in the higher echelons of government. While most observers recall that Chaudhuri’s predecessor O.P. Bhatt had also spent his tenure at SBI waging a war of words with the apex bank over various issues, it may be the first time that the spat has spilled out in public.
Some feel that Finance ministry babus have been trying to dominate and influence policies which have been proposed by regulators like the RBI and SEBI, and if the current bank regulatory environment is confusing, leading to public rebukes as in this instance, it may have to do with North Block as well. n

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