GAIL director Ravindran accused of $53m theft

Vol 20, PW 6 (01 Dec 16) People & Policy

Many are wondering if oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan will uphold Narendra Modi's zero tolerance policy on corruption when deciding the fate of GAIL director M.

Ravindran. On November 23, GAIL chief vigilance officer Rajesh Ranjan wrote to Central Vigilance Commissioner Kosaraju Veerayya Chowdary with a sensational claim: Ravindran stole between Rs320cr ($53m) and Rs350cr ($58m) during his time as CEO of GAIL Gas from 2008-2011, as MD of Indraprastha Gas from 2011 till 2013 and in his current position as director HR at GAIL.

Ranjan recommends that Ravindran be suspended or demoted to executive director rank with all retirement benefits seized to recover the embezzled money. As the amount to be recovered is large, Ranjan asks Chowdary for suggestions on how to recover it? "Along with the letter," says a GAIL source, "Ranjan attached evidence to prove the charges." A CVC source confirms Ranjan's recommendations will be forwarded within two weeks to the oil ministry which must decide on what action to take.

Ranjan was directed by the oil ministry to begin investigating Ravindran in July 2016. "Ravindran was given a chance to defend himself," we hear.

"But his replies weren't found satisfactory and a report was sent to the CVC." Ravindran, who currently holds additional charge of the IGL chairman role, retires on January 31, 2017. All attempts to reach him for a response were unsuccessful.