Someone doesn't want RK Goel at PNGRB

Vol 16, PW 12 (10 Jan 13) People & Policy

RK Goel, a former GAIL finance director, suspects that senior management at his old company is conspiring to ensure he does not become the next member distribution at the Petroleum & Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB).

Goel, we hear, is preparing to drag the oil ministry to the Delhi High Court, angry that it over-turned his selection for the job vacated by Sudha Mahalingam on July 3 last year. Oil ministry officials wrote to India’s Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) on November 21 directing it to scrap a ‘panel’ of Goel and former oil ministry advisor Dr.

BB Mohanty who were short-listed last June by a search committee headed by planning commission member BK Chaturvedi. Goel was the committee’s first choice, Mohanty came second.

Goel is up against additional secretary Sudhir Bhargava, who accuses him of failing to inform the ministry that he had joined Reliance after retiring from GAIL, questioning his ethics. On Bhargava’s recommendation, then oil minister and Reliance-foe Jaipal Reddy scrapped the ‘panel’.

Bizarrely the ministry previously defended Goel’s selection in early November, writing to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) that he did not break government rules by joining Reliance after retiring as GAIL director finance on February 28, 2011. Goel is adamant he did not need government permission to take the Reliance job as he began working at Reliance on April 2, 2012 – more than a year after retiring from GAIL.

“When I applied for the post of PNGRB member on March 13, 2012 I was unemployed,” says Goel. He alleges Bhargava is trying to favour the selection of a GAIL director who retires soon.

Bhargava is the government nominee on GAIL’s board. When contacted, a ministry source confirmed it has scrapped Goel’s selection.

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