INDIANOIL: Still no sign of Mannur as dir. mktg

Vol 18, PW 16 (09 Apr 15) People & Policy

Strong rumours are circulating that the PMO has rejected UV Mannur’s selection as IndianOil director marketing.

Last week the oil ministry forwarded a request to the PESB to re-advertise the post. “I know somebody who’s seen that letter,” says a government source.

Still unclear is if Mannur’s file was sent back by the PMO, or why. “Oil ministry officials will only ask the PESB to re-advertise if the PMO rejected Mannur’s file,” reasons a source.

Mannur was selected on May 26, 2014 to replace M. Nene who retired on December 31, 2014, but his selection was first rejected by oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan then defended by home minister Rajnath Singh.

So why would the PMO defy the home minister’s wishes? IOC sources speculate the culprit is rival IOC executive director Balwinder Singh Canth, believed to have ranked second in the director marketing interviews. “Canth is from Punjab (though stationed in Andhra Pradesh) and has good political connections,” says a former IOC director.

“He played his cards well through Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal.” Badal’s party Shiromani Akali Dal, is part of the ruling BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), and was the first to welcome the BJP’s decision to declare Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate in September 2013 even when the BJP faced criticism over the move.

Badal’s daughter-in-law Harsimrat Kaur is Modi’s food processing minister.

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