The Information and Broadcasting ministry is mulling making security clearance mandatory for candidates before appointment as Prasar Bharati board members in the backdrop of sexual assault charges against Tarun Tejpal,who had been selected for the post.
After the alleged assault came to light,Vice-President Hamid Ansari had asked the Ministry to immediately cancel Tejpal’s name from the list finalised for part-time members in the board.
Tejpal’s name was finalised in a selection committee meeting headed by Ansari on November 19,2013,a day before the scandal became public.
Responding to an RTI application filed by activist Subhash Agrawal,the Ministry said at present there was no provision for character certificate and intelligence report of personalities which are considered for selection of part-time members in the Prasar Bharati Board.
The willingness from the selected part-time member is obtained after their selection,the ministry said.
“However,after this (Tejpal’s alleged sexual assault) incident the Ministry is trying to consider the fact that the security clearance may also be obtained from Ministry of Home Affairs in respect of persons to be considered for appointment as Part-time Member in Prasar Bharati,” it said.
The Ministry said the recommendations made in the selection committee meeting where Tejpal’s name was finalised has “not attained finality as yet”.
The Prasar Bharati Board comprises a Chairman,an executive member (Chief Executive Officer),a member-finance,a member-personnel,six part-time members,a representative of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and the Directors General of All India Radio and Doordarshan as ex-officio Members.
The chairman is a part-time member with a six-year tenure. The executive member has a tenure of five years,subject to the age limit of 65 years. Member-finance and member-personnel are full time members with a six-year tenure,subject to the age limit of 62 years.
The alleged sexual assault by Tejpal on a colleague in Goa had snowballed into a major controversy in November last year.
He had announced that he was “recusing” from his job as editor Tehelka for six months after an email by the woman journalist of his magazine alleging sexual assault on her by him was made public.
Goa police had arrested him and he is in judicial custody in connection with the case.