Sandeep Poundrik clashes with Pradhan

Vol 22, PW 11 (21 Mar 19) News in Brief

Whispers are circulating that oil ministry joint secretary (refineries) Sandeep Poundrik will soon leave and move to NITI Aayog following a breakdown in relations with oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

"Orders confirming Poundrik's transfer (to NITI Aayog) are expected within a week," speculates a well-placed source. Oil ministry visitors tell this report the strained relationship between Pradhan and Poundrik is an open secret in the oil ministry.

"They've fallen out over the collection of sponsorship money from one of the participants at a mega (international-level) event in Delhi in October (2018) organised by a global consultancy firm," we hear. "Poundrik wanted to take action but Pradhan stopped him."

Pradhan stripped Poundrik of the vigilance portfolio and gave it to joint secretary exploration Amar Nath. Friendly and accessible Poundrik is known for his no-nonsense approach.

"He talks freely," says a journalist. "Whenever we meet him."

Poundrik was unavailable but his personal assistant feigned ignorance of any transfer. Born on October 3, 1968, Poundrik joined the IAS in 1993 from Bihar and has been at the ministry since October 8, 2014.

His five-year Delhi post ends on October 7, 2019.