Reddy gives Giridhar low profile marketing position

Vol 15, PW 14 (26 Jan 12) People & Policy

Joint secretary Aramane Giridhar was barely at the oil ministry a week before he received his first lesson in its bizarre and inexplicable ways.

Giridhar joined the ministry on January 12 and was widely believed to be taking charge of its high-profile exploration division. But on January 16 came the surprise news that the civil servant from Andhra Pradesh, home state of oil minister Jaipal Reddy, had been inexplicably moved to the much less glamorous role of joint secretary marketing.

Why, is not exactly clear. Giridhar reached the ministry at around 10.30am on his first day and eagerly strode into the office of oil secretary Girish Chaturvedi who, it seems, had told him he would get exploration, a claim Giridhar later denied.

After talking to Chaturvedi, Giridhar visited the rooms of special secretary PK Sinha, additional secretary Sudhir Bhargava, and joint secretary refineries LK Gupta, before making himself comfortable in the office of former joint secretary exploration DN Narasimha Raju, who left on January 5. “Everyone was certain Giridhar would be the new joint secretary exploration and that’s why we thought Chaturvedi asked him to sit there,” says an official.

“Why else would exploration division staff be asked to report him” But when the official order from oil minister Reddy came on January 16 it wasn’t quite what Giridhar had expected. “Chaturvedi sent Girdhar’s file to the minister recommending him for exploration,” confirms another source.

“But Reddy gave him marketing.” Contacted by this report, Giridhar said: “Possibly because I sat in the JS exploration room some believed I was getting the exploration portfolio.

But the truth is I was never asked to handle exploration.”