'No need for GAIL director BD post!' says ministry

Vol 18, PW 5 (23 Oct 14) People & Policy

Sanjib Datta's hopes of becoming GAIL's next director business development are fading fast.

Datta was selected in February and won anti-corruption clearance in June. He was meant to replace S.

Venkataraman who retired last month (September) but on October 7 the oil ministry received a damning comment from the law ministry questioning Datta's selection over rival candidate Gajendra Singh. In April (2014) Singh complained to the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) alleging that he was refused the director’s post because of PESB's bias against India’s tribal community.

In July the NCST condemned the PESB selection process as biased, opaque and to the detriment of a tribal candidate. Law ministry bureaucrats agree, saying the NCST recommendations cannot and should not be ignored.

"The oil ministry has no choice but to scrap the PESB panel,” says an industry source. Worse, the oil ministry believes the director BD post itself should be scrapped.

Additional secretary Rajive Kumar, a government nominated GAIL director, questioned the need for the post at a board meeting on September 26. "Kumar said GAIL does not need a director BD," we hear.

Until now the GAIL director BD has been primarily responsible for strategic planning, new opportunities, exploration and development.

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