PMO demands PESB explain Pandey selection

Vol 21, PW 16 (17 May 18) People & Policy

BJP worker Rajesh Kanna's allegations against NC Pandey appear frivolous but they have nonetheless triggered PMO attention.

This report learns on May 2 the PMO wrote a one-page letter to PESB chairman Ansuman Das asking him to explain a discrepancy in the selection process that saw Pandey win the ONGC director technology position. More, the PMO demanded the PESB disclose full details of the process used to shortlist candidates.

This comes in response to industry rumours that the selection process was unfairly rigged. Why, ask observers, did the PESB fail to call for interview candidates like HR chief Suresh Jandial and head of corporate vigilance Ved Vrat Mishra? Both are older and senior in rank to Pandey who was only a GGM when he applied but admittedly promoted to ED rank shortly after.

BJP worker Kanna meanwhile wrote a second incendiary letter on May 10 - this time to the head of the anti-corruption Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) watchdog Kosaraju Veerayya Chowdary in which he lays bare more damning allegations. Among the most serious is that an undisclosed 'vigilance' complaint against Pandey was not disclosed to the PESB before his selection.

"The matter was either suppressed or concealed by the concerned officials," writes Kanna. "This warrants a thorough inquiry." Friends of Pandey counter that he was cleared of any wrongdoing in a vigilance investigation several years ago when in ONGC's deepwater drilling department.