Air India Chairman and Managing Director, Ashwani Lohani, is in the race for the post of Railway Board Member (Staff) which falls vacant end of this month. Lohani’s name has been included along with three others in the file sent to the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, sources told The Sunday Express.
Lohani and Air India were in news recently when the airline refused to fly Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad because of the latter’s alleged misbehaviour with an airline staff. Later, all airlines refused to fly the MP for days, leading Sena MPs to protest before Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapati Raju during the Budget Session of Parliament this year.
While Lohani has never spoken out on the issue, sources said it was his initiative that led to the move against the MP.
Lohani is currently outside the Railways and is working as the chief of the airline. However, he is the seniormost in the select panel, it has been indicated. A 1980-batch officer of the Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineers, Lohani retires in December 2018.
Sources said last year that Lohani was also one of the hopefuls for the post of Chairman of the Railway Board when the government gave an unprecedented two-year extension to the incumbent AK Mital, who is slated to remain in office till July 2018.
Lohani left Railways two years ago when Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan appointed him to turn around the MP State Tourism Development Corporation after which he was posted as the Air India chief in 2015.
Three Zonal Railway General managers are the contenders for the job along with Lohani: East Central Railway GM, DK Gayen; South Western Railway GM, AK Gupta; and North Central Railway GM, MC Chauhan. Current Member (Staff) Pradeep Kumar retires this month.