The government on Tuesday terminated the contract of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) chief Avinash Chander with effect from January 31, more than a year before his tenure was to end.
“The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved the termination of the contract of Shri Avinash Chander, Secretary, Department of Defence Research and Development-cum-DG, Defence Research and Development Organisation and Scientific Advisor to Raksha Mantri with effect from 31.01.2015,” said a letter signed by B P Sharma, Secretary, ACC. Chander was not available for comment.
Chander, 64 — known as the Agni man — was appointed as DRDO chief in June 2013 for a period of three years — till May 2016. A DoPT order dated May 31, 2013 had said, “The appointment beyond his date of retirement i.e 30.11.2014 would be on contract basis.”
While the reason for the termination was not immediately clear, PM Narendra Modi in August 2013 had expressed dissatisfaction with DRDO, saying, “The biggest challenge for DRDO is how to work before time. The world will not wait for us.” Recently, a standing committee report on defence sought DRDO’s comments on delays in development of major platforms, which resulted in time and cost overruns.