Tripathi extension doubts as DoPT returns file

Vol 18, PW 24 (30 Jul 15) People & Policy

BC Tripathi seems to have won over Dharmendra Pradhan but now he needs to win Narendra Modi's backing to stay GAIL chairman for another four years.

Tripathi won a five-year extension on July 31, 2014 subject to reconfirmation after completing his mandatory one-year 'probation' on July 31. Pradhan approved Tripathi's confirmation on July 20 and sent the file to the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) which was expected to forward it directly to the cabinet's appointments committee.

But the DoPT returned the file on July 27 demanding anti-corruption clearance from the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC). "Tripathi doesn't have CVC clearance," confirms a government source.

"When Pradhan sent his file to DoPT we thought he would get it." However, one source counters that Pradhan has the power to grant Tripathi a one-month extension without CVC clearance. Tripathi is so eager to please Modi he sponsored a BJP rally in Patna on July 25 under the guise of inaugurating a spurline to Barauni.

Modi spoke at the event which also inaugurated the IIT-Patna campus and two railway projects, his eye firmly on Bihar assembly elections in November this year. "GAIL paid all the expense for the 'grand ceremony' even though Modi also inaugurated other projects," says a source.

"GAIL hasn't even begun laying the trunk pipeline but has awarded the Rs200cr ($31m) contract for spurlines so Modi can get political mileage in Bihar."