Reddy wants obedient Choubey as DGH chief

Vol 15, PW 22 (17 May 12) People & Policy

Thirty-two years ago Jaipal Reddy suffered a humiliating parliamentary election defeat against Indira Gandhi, who went on to become prime minister.

Aged 70, Reddy’s political ambitions haven’t abated but he has learned to surround himself with ‘yes men’ to achieve them. One rumour doing the rounds is that Reddy wants to appoint his trusted friend and IAS bureaucrat Rajiv Nayan Choubey as the next DGH boss, further tightening his grip on the upstream regulator.

Since SK Srivastava moved to Oil India as chairman on May 1 the DGH director general post is held by ministry joint secretary (exploration) Aramane Giridhar as an additional charge. Reddy likes this arrangement but believes fifty-three year old Choubey, presently additional secretary at the home affairs ministry, is the best choice for full-time DGH chief.

“We have heard Choubey will come here as DG (director general),” said a DGH source. “It’s not confirmed.

” Choubey was born on January 28, 1959 and joined the civil service in 1981 from Tamil Nadu aged 22. He’s been at the home affairs ministry since March 26, 2012.

“Choubey is exceptionally brilliant,” says a Department of Personnel and Training source. But regular Shastri Bhawan visitors say an IAS officer as DGH boss defies logic.

“The DGH is meant to be the ministry’s technical arm,” says a source. “Choosing an IAS officer over a technical person is strange.

There are so many qualified candidates in industry and at the DGH.” Reddy, adds another source, doesn’t care if the DGH functions well.

“He likes ‘yes men’,” we learn. “(Oil secretary GC) Chaturvedi does what he says and Giridhar was handpicked from (home state) Andhra Pradesh.

” Choubey is similarly expected to toe the line.