Election fever allows M. Ravindran to walk free

Vol 20, PW 9 (26 Jan 17) People & Policy

Outgoing GAIL director human resources M.

Ravindran is expected to benefit from an oil ministry decision to sweep under the carpet alleged corruption cases ahead of imminent state elections. "Elections are due in five states in February and March," says a ministry source.

"And we have received a clear order from the PMO to keep all files on hold." Punjab and Goa legislative assembly elections will be held on February 4, followed by Uttar Pradesh on February 11, Uttarakhand on February 15 and Manipur on March 4. "The (ruling) BJP does not want to take any chances," we hear.

"It needs to keep a clean image during the elections. Corruption cases should not come out." This has worked out nicely for Ravindran, accused by GAIL's chief vigilance officer Rajesh Ranjan of misappropriating Rs320cr ($53m) when he was CEO of GAIL Gas from 2008 to 2011.

"In early January the Central Vigilance Commissioner Kosaraju Veeraiah Chowdary called GAIL's chief vigilance officer (Ranjan) to discuss the findings of a report on Ravindran," we hear. "The CVC endorsed the report's findings and agreed to take action." However when Chowdary contacted oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan twice this month for an appointment to discuss the case against Ravindran he was denied an audience because of Pradhan's busy schedule.

"Ravindran is retiring soon (January 31)," says a source. "All the work done by (CVO) Ranjan will go to waste if no action is taken by then."