Ministry: Saurabh Chandra vents frustration

Vol 18, PW 12 (12 Feb 15) People & Policy

Saurabh Chandra has won a reputation for being difficult so when rumours began circulating the oil secretary was leaving state-owned company officials were delighted.

Chandra was tipped to become home secretary, replacing Anil Goswami who was unceremoniously ousted on February 4 amid allegations he influenced a high profile CBI investigation. “We were all happy to learn Chandra is leaving the ministry,” says a state-owned oil company director.

But late in the evening of February 4 the government announced the appointment of rural development secretary LC Goyal as home secretary instead of Chandra. A day later, on February 5, state-owned oil company representatives were at the receiving end of an angry tirade by Chandra at the monthly review meeting on their oil and gas production.

“It was as if he was passing his frustration on to us,” says a source present. Chandra’s anger was understandable as he would have had two additional years in government had he been selected as home secretary where the retirement age is 62.

“Rumours of Chandra leaving the oil ministry made us happy," says a source. "His tone during meetings is sarcastic and rude.

He insults chairmen and directors in front of their juniors and others.”

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