India: where 'Rules Are Meant To Be Broken'

Vol 5, PW 5 (25 Apr 01) People & Policy

If Prasad's appointment gets confirmed, he will be the latest in a line of directors and chairman to seamlessly switch from state run companies to rivals in the private sector.

Is this permitted Government guidelines in India are clear: directors and chairmen of public sector companies must endure a three-year 'cooling off' period after retirement before joining competitors in the private sector. Who could argue with that As chairman, Prasad, or anyone of his rank, is hot property.

But does anyone take any notice Clearly not. Prasad retired from GAIL on 31st January and takes up his appointment at British Gas on 1st May.

Did he misinterpret the guidelines to read three months, not three years "He managed to square it with the ministry", reveals a source. "We don't know how." It would be nice to know how.

Can anyone offer an explanation But why only point the finger at Prasad R.P Sharma, former director commercial at Petronet-LNG, likewise switched to rival Reliance with effortless ease.

Before him, K.K Kapoor a former GAIL chairman switched to Enron.

In 1993, during the Panna, Mukta row R.B Mehrotra, director exploration, and S.

N Khosla, chairman at ONGC, moved to Reliance after transferring the assets in their capacity at ONGC. Clearly in India the dictum, 'Rules are meant to be broken', means just that!