Shashi Shanker gets helping hand from DoPT

Vol 18, PW 23 (16 Jul 15) People & Policy
     

Almost five months after his abrupt suspension as ONGC director technology and field services, Shashi Shanker's supporters desperately hope he will get reinstated.

Now they believe a two-page notice issued on July 3 by Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) director Mukesh Chaturvedi on "instructions regarding timely issue of charge sheet", copied to all ministries, is a potential lifeline for Shanker. Suspended on February 23 over allegations of "gross misconduct" in a tender to procure 21 Blow Out Preventers, Shanker has yet to receive either a 'show cause notice' or letter listing charges against him.

But Chaturvedi's notice quotes a February 16 Supreme Court ruling stating: "The suspension order should not extend beyond three months if within this period the Memorandum of Charges/Chargesheet is not served on the delinquent officer/employee." Chaturvedi adds: "In many cases charge sheets are not issued despite clear evidence of misconduct on the grounds that the matter is under investigation by an investigating agency like CBI." However, DoPT guidelines from November 1982 are clear that if a "government servant" is suspended with a view to initiate disciplinary proceedings, then every effort must be made to finalise charges within three months. Narendra Modi's administration is strangely silent on Shanker's fate; many expect it to simply ignore a low-profile DoPT notice.

Despite repeated attempts for comment, no one at the oil ministry was available.

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