Najeeb Jung not applying for chairman ONGC

Vol 4, PW 21 (22 Nov 00) People & Policy

Media are regularly accused of printing falsehoods, hearsay and rumour.

In this Petrowatch is not beyond reproach, but on this occasion we gladly set the record straight on a rumour, which for some reason is sweeping through the Indian upstream sector like a bush fire. The rumour is that Najeeb Jung, aged 49, and a former joint secretary in the Indian oil ministry, has applied, or plans to apply, for the job of chairman at ONGC to replace Bikash Bora when he retires next year.

Contacted by Petrowatch at his home in Oxford, Jung is flabbergasted: "You are the fourth person who is asking me this," Jung exclaims, "There is absolutely no truth in these reports and I don't know how or why they are circulating." Jung said he is on a one-year sabbatical at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies in the UK, where he is writing a book entitled, 'Gas to Asia'. "I know the system in India and I know that you don't apply for a PSU job unless and until you are asked," he adds, "I never met the last secretary (Narayan) and have not been asked by anyone to apply." Jung was joint secretary exploration between 1994-95, but "wanted a change" and took premature retirement to take up a job as a 'Senior Policy Adviser' to the Asian Development Bank in Manila.

"I retired from the IAS (government service) to take up the job with the ADB and am still on their payroll. How can I apply for the job of ONGC chairman when I have retired from the IAS"