Arun Kumar Jain,Member (Finance) of the Prasar Bharati Board whose objections on the financial goings-on in Indias largest public broadcaster led to a severe indictment of CEO B S Lalli by board members,has been given marching orders by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.
Jain,a 1977-batch IAS officer,has been asked by the ministry to revert to his parent Nagaland cadre or resign from the IAS. A communication in this regard,issued with the approval of Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Anand Sharma,has been sent to Prasar Bharati an autonomous body constituted by an Act of Parliament with a copy to Jain,who has been given seven days to exercise his option.
As reported by The Sunday Express on February 28,Jain had written a series of letters to the CEO and the Board pointing out a string of financial lapses and irregularities in the functioning of the corporation,viz.,fiscal indiscipline,fudging of figures in the balance sheet,expenditures in excess of budgetary allocations,and other instances of financial lapses.
He had raised these issues at a board meeting on January 21,on the basis of which several members had recorded their strong objections,and recommended that all the delegated powers of the CEO be withdrawn forthwith.
The order to Jain,a copy of which has been obtained by The Indian Express,cites rules that do not allow a central government officer on deputation to be appointed as a whole-time member of the Prasar Bharati Board. However,it does not clarify why it took the ministry about two years to realize that Jains appointment was against rules.
DoPT (Department of Personnel & Training) has informed that Sh AK Jain has not been deputed either under Rule 6(1) or under 6(2)(ii) of IAS Cadre Rules 1964. Forwarding of an application by a department does not sanction for deputation or permission for permanent absorption, says the ministrys letter,signed by deputy secretary Jayanthi G.
In view of this,Sh AK Jain may be advised to either revert back to his parent cadre with immediate effect or submit his resignation from the Indian Administrative Service w.e.f. the date he assumed charge of post of Member (Finance). He may be given a maximum of seven days for exercising this option. This issues with approval of MoS (I&B), the letter said.
Anand Sharma was not available for a comment.
Sources in the board told The Indian Express that the confrontation between the CEO and the rest of the board has reached a point where the sides failed to agree even on the minutes of the January 21 meeting. Two sets were prepared,one by the CEO and the other by chairman Arun Bhatnagar,which was endorsed by the board. A copy of the minutes in possession of The Indian Express has the chairmans initials on every page.
WHO ARE ON PRASAR Bharatis BOARD
•Arun Bhatnagar,Chairman: 1966-batch Madhya Pradesh cadre IAS officer,former Secretary,DoPT,and of the now-defunct National Advisory Council. Perceived to be close to the Congress and Sonia Gandhi. Replaced M V Kamath as chairman.
•B S Lalli,CEO: 1971-batch IAS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre. Was Secretary (Border Management) in the Home Ministry when he was picked to lead Prasar Bharati late in December 2006. Has served in the ministries of Defence,Agriculture and Urban Development.
•Arun Kumar Jain,Member (Finance): 1977-batch Nagaland cadre IAS officer,MBA in finance from FMS,Delhi. Has another MBA degree in finance and public sector management from the University of Hull,UK. Was Principal Secretary to the government of Nagaland before being appointed to the Prasar Bharati Board.
•V Shivakumar,Member (Personnel): Was Director (Human Resources) in MTNL before joining the Prasar Bharati Board in April 2007.
•Uday Kumar Varma,Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. 1976-batch IAS officer of Madhya Pradesh cadre is the nominated member on the board.
•R N Bisaria: Former deputy director at All India Radio,one of the longest-serving members on the board.
•Sunil Kapoor: Doctor by profession,considered to be an expert on financial matters as well. Runs some engineering and medical colleges in Madhya Pradesh; has also been involved with the administration of football. One of the two outstation members of the board,stationed in Bhopal.
•George Varghese: Journalist by profession,has put in more than three decades at UNI.
•Lt Gen Utpal Bhattacharya (retd): IIT Kharagpur alumnus,retired from Engineering Corps of the Army in 2007. Has been an avid sports commentator on AIR and DD since the 1980s.
•Sunil Dang: Editor and publisher of monthly news magazine Day After.
•Mamata Shankar: Classical dancer,daughter of the legendary dance couple Uday Shankar and Amala Shankar,niece of sitar maestro Pt Ravi Shankar. Was absent at the January 21 meeting,but attended February 17 meeting which approved the minutes of the previous meeting.
In addition,Directors-General of Doordarshan and All India Radio are ex-officio members of the Prasar Bharati board.